Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Review

Christian Jones ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a phenomenal, emotionally poignant, phantasmagoric action flic in the same vein as The Suicide Squad (2021) and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). There are so many wonderful things about this movie, but the best part is its place within the context of mainstream cinema. This movie, and those aforementioned, all speak to today’s nihilistic condition that so many people have fallen victim to. 

We feel powerless, lost, anonymous, and numb amidst all of the chaos of our modern world. The recurring prospect of impending doom is a magnified version of our innate existential fear of death. Our relationships have become awkward and callous, as we fail to see the humanity in one another, and express our emotions in healthy ways—a result of intergenerational trauma, over-intellectualization, fear, paranoia, pessimism, or some mixture of them all. The fact is, while we consider ourselves evolved, sophisticated, and exempt from the moral consequences of our actions, we are merely steeling ourselves to the tender, aching heart inside each and every one of us that craves that simple sustenance of life: love. 

How better to exemplify this cringe-filled, unironic, stupid sentimentalism than the character of Perrito, an orphan dog? And what better to deconstruct than Puss in Boots’ narcissistic, yet humanly flawed machismo? The clever map-wish framework acts as a plot device to dually reveal the characters’ inner most desires/goals, while also providing necessary lore for each character, and propelling the linear progression of time forward. The framework for Puss in Boots’ confrontation with death is literalized throughout the film, in the form of a bloodshot, beady-eyed wolf. Puss in Boots spends the entire film running away from the fantastical embodiment of his fear of death until his final, fearless confrontation, teaching him the value of his own precious lives (which he treated so recklessly) and the characters close to him (whom he consistently undervalued).

It is surprising to see such an effective application of the fairy tale genre in today’s content landscape. Usually dismissed as a children’s genre, and considered simplistic or lame by most intellectual audiences, magical fairy tales often struggle to find a resonant audience. However in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, the writers skillfully expand on the classic story of Goldilocks, turning her into an orphan found and adored by the bears she transgresses. Perrito is faithful to the naive orphan archetype, helping Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws regain trust (and love) for one another. As both Goldilocks and Puss realize the importance of what is right in front of them–Goldilocks by Perrito’s remark about hitting the ‘orphan jackpot’ and Puss by literally fighting death and declaring his love for Kitty–the fairy tale plot is subverted and the characters no longer need to make a wish at all.

The film’s emotional center shimmers far and wide: to the ‘Cocomelon babies’ hypnotized by its hyperstimulating psychedelic animation, to the nihilistic adults unable to see optimistically in their own lives, to orphans–both literal and metaphoric, to cat people, to women ghosted by immature men, to men trying to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, but most of all to former Shrek Fans. The writers even weave in some of the lore of the legendary Shrek franchise: Pinnochio causing Jack Horner’s hatred of magic, Puss’ past life helping Gingerbread Man cook and burning to death, the final scene of our heroic triad sailing towards the kingdom of Duloc (Thank you Shrek Wiki). The film even manages to heal the cat-dog owner divide in the heartwarming scene when Perrito lays his head on a panicking Puss in Boots, calming him down. 

When the credits rolled and the lights turned on, the AMC theater erupted into claps and cheers. Whether young or old, dumb or smart, sentimental or closed off, this film manages to convey its simple, serious, and timely message with radiant zest. “I AM PUSS IN BOOTS!”

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