Universal Pictures

DreamWorks Animation’s just-opened sequel “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has far exceeded its predecessor to become not only the best-reviewed film in the “Shrek” franchise but one of the best-reviewed films of the year.

With 83 reviews counted, the film stands at a stunning 96% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the audience not far behind on 94% positive. That said, the critics average score is at 7.6/10 – excellent but not in the 8.2-8.5/10 number you’d get for a universally acclaimed release.

Still, it’s far exceeding the film’s still well-regarded predecessor of eleven years ago, with Banderas’ performance in particular singled out for praise in almost every review. The film sees Puss embark on an epic journey into the Black Forest to find the mythical Wishing Star and restore his lost lives.

But with only one life left, Puss will have to humble himself and ask for help from his former partner and nemesis: the captivating Kitty Soft Paws. They have to stay one step ahead of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Crime Family, ‘Big’ Jack Horner and the terrifying bounty hunter The Big Bad Wolf.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Florence Pugh, Harvey Guillen, John Mulaney, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Salma Hayek and Wagner Moura co-star in the film. Here’s a sampling of reviews below:

“Nothing in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish feels lazy, it more than justifies the long wait. It is not only one of the best animated films of the year, but it’s one of DreamWorks’ best, and one that will strike a chord with moviegoers of all ages” – Nate Richard, Collider

“Banderas…is so glorious in the part that I’d put the Most Special Spaniard right up there with Robin Williams as giving one of the finest vocal characterizations ever to grace an animated film.” – Roger Moor, Movie Nation

“The Last Wish is a surprisingly introspective family adventure, one that gives as much airtime to questions of mortality, ego, and legacy as it does ‘edgy’ riffs on fairytales.” – Hoai-Tran Bui, Inverse

“Given that big-studio children’s animation so often feels like it was created by algorithm, it’s refreshing to see a kid’s cartoon-like ‘The Last wish’ that’s filled with too many ideas rather than too few.” – Keith Watson, Slant Magazine

“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.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

“It’s hard to shake the notion that we’re watching a desperate fantasy, not the fun kind. Puss in Boots isn’t on a rousing adventure; he’s performing the fairy-tale equivalent of grasping at miracle cures while he’s dying from a terminal illness.” – William Bibbiani, The Wrap

The film is rated PG and runs for 100 minutes. It’s in cinemas across the U.S. now with an international rollout underway over the coming days.

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