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'Puss in Boots: The Last Wish' hailed as 'visually innovative' & one of DreamWorks' best films

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish arrives on the big screen Friday, Dec. 23.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)

The review embargo on Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has officially lifted, and it sounds like the Shrek Cinematic Universe has another hit on its hands. Described by critics as an "innovative" and "vibrant" animated adventure anchored by a stellar voice cast and deftly-balanced message about facing down one's own mortality, the DreamWorks follow-up sees the return of Antonio Banderas as the swashbuckling feline in fashionable footwear.

When he runs out the clock on his nine lives, Puss teams up with old flame, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), and happy-go-lucky canine, Perrito (Harvey Guillén), to find a wishing star and restore his pseudo-immortality. But they're not the only ones after the fabled MacGuffin. Goldilocks (a scene-stealing Florence Pugh) and the Three Bears Crime Family (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, and Samson Kayo voice the ursine gangsters); Jack Horner (John Mulaney); and the big, bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) are also hot on the trail.

Anthony Mendez (Jane the Virgin) and Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Trolls World Tour) round out the ensemble cast. Joel Crawford (The Croods: A New Age) directed the sequel, with Mark Swift and Chris Meldandri serving as producer and executive producer, respectively.

Head below to see what critics are saying...

"The stakes may be more serious this time around, but the film’s every bit as amusing as you’d expect from the clever-as-ever team at DreamWorks Animation ... Puss in Boots: The Last Wish marks DWA’s best film since the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, reflecting some of the lessons learned on that series, including the notion that cartoon characters get a lot more interesting if they’re not immortal." -Peter Debruge, Variety

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish looks great, but what really makes it work is Banderas’ silky-voiced turn, conveying all of the character’s over-the-top feline suavity while making it clear that he’s very much in on the joke. Too often, animated films feature supremely overpaid and overqualified voice casts whom children, and most adults, couldn’t care less about. Banderas, on the other hand, is worth every penny." -Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

"The Last Wish has a particularly fun blend of standard computer imagery combined with the sketchy look of hand-drawn animation and the fast-paced flip-book style fight choreography popularized by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ...  [The film] has no qualms about testing the expectations of its young audience while delivering a freewheeling tale about appreciating the nine lives we already have." -Emma Stefansky, IndieWire

"It’s an appealingly animated feature film, colorful and sometimes visually innovative. There are gags about fairy tales that range from eye-rolling to genuinely hilarious — the cameo from Jiminy Cricket certainly qualifies among the latter — and there are swashbuckling fight scenes that swash and/or buckle rather well." -William Bibbianni, TheWrap

"The film’s production design (overseen by Nate Wragg) and visuals are often wondrous, with the animators occasionally creating surreal, hyper-vivid realms where Puss battles different nefarious foes ... Banderas and Hayek Pinault have decent chemistry as these feline exes whose coy verbal sparring is appealingly flirtatious. And Banderas has some nice moments undercutting Puss’s purring bravado, revealing hints of vulnerability within this brash outlaw who slowly realizes that his own selfish needs may not be as important as those of his friends." -Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is also vibrant fun, frequently switching up animation styles (the action sequences almost play out like comic book strips) with impressive visuals, including a forest that transforms itself into something brighter and safer or darker and perilous based on who is holding the magical map and the decisions they have made in life." -Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish arrives on the big screen Friday, Dec. 23. The 2011 original is now streaming on Peacock.

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