Puss in Boots 2 is actually good


by Ryan Magalhaes, Staff Reporter

I didn’t think it was going to be good. I’ve never really liked the Shrek franchise, and while I enjoyed the first “Puss in Boots,” I hardly felt it merited a sequel. In a sense, I was correct. “Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish” doesn’t follow very much from the original. But director Joel Crawford delivers a spectacular new take on a character we’ve seen a million times.

Rather than giving an uncritical perspective of a larger-than-life hero, the movie digs a bit deeper into the reality of interpersonal relationships and the constant confrontation of the death of someone who doesn’t seem to care about either.

Let’s start with the highlight. One of the film’s primary antagonists is a bounty-hunting wolf wanting to kill Puss. From the moment the character is introduced, they are an object of fear. The anxiety of the scene and Puss’s genuine terror is palpable. It’s the fear that he creates that dominates from the moment he’s introduced.

He drives the plot despite having relatively little screen time to some of the other villains, forcing Puss into the adventure, driving a wedge between Puss and the other characters and giving us one of the best-animated villains in recent memory.

The ever-present threat of death the wolf represents forces Puss to confront his fears and failings with such high-personal stakes that he needs to take action and fast. This makes Puss a highly motivated and active participant carrying the audience through the adventure.

If it isn’t clear already, this is not a typical kid’s movie. One of the most shocking moments is when we see blood. Like actual blood. In an animated film. It was at that exact moment that I realized this movie was special.

Besides the rarity of being more mature, “Last Wish” also gives not one, but four highly compelling characters. One of which also serves as a secondary antagonist for part of the film. For a standalone animated movie to pull off multiple parallel character arcs is something that alone makes it worth watching.

The characters also drive the comedy, which centers primarily around their interactions. Particularly the central three characters, who maintain a natural, high-energy rapport that gives laughs enough for the whole movie.

But the film also gives us a lead antagonist-voiced by the iconic John Mulaney-who has an extended dialogue with a cricket. I realize that doesn’t sound overly funny, but the interplay between the two characters is incredibly humorous.

Of course, the action is incredible as well. Borrowing from “Into the Spiderverse,” the fight scenes are highly stylized and more reminiscent of anime than Disney. They flow like water, keeping the audience engaged while packing in jokes and spectacular screenshots.

The bottom line with “Last Wish” is that there is so much to talk about. The movie isn’t perfect, of course, but it is packed with so many incredible, hilarious, terrifying or heartfelt minutes that you won’t even remember the rest.