"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" was released Dec. 21, 2022, as the latest installment in the "Shrek" franchise. The film follows Puss in Boots as he journeys with two new friends to find the Wishing Star, a mythical object that could save him as Puss is on his ninth and final life.

It has been over a decade since we were presented with an entry in the "Shrek" franchise.

The last entry we received was 2011’s “Puss in Boots,” which was an enjoyable side-story set in the "Shrek" world but was not anything special or groundbreaking.

Since then, “The Last Wish” was announced and went through various development issues, causing the project to take a long time to release. The film was finally released Dec. 21, 2022 and was a massive surprise.

The film follows Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) on a quest to retrieve the mythical Wishing Star as he is currently on his ninth and final life. He is joined by Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and newcomer Perrito (Harvey Guillén).

However, the protagonists are not the only ones trying to obtain the Wishing Star as other fairy-tale characters want the wish for themselves. Goldilocks (Florence Pugh) and the three bears as well as Jack Horner (John Mulaney) join the fray.

Compared to the original film, “The Last Wish” is full of expression as displayed through the animation styles used throughout. The animation at times can resemble other animated films such as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Entergalactic.”

The colors are very vibrant and complement each character in unique ways. The film has a great blend of action, comedy and somber moments.

Besides a few jokes that did not land very well, everything felt just right.

The standout of the film was definitely the main antagonist Death. From any moment he steps onto the screen, you can feel his presence and how much of a threat he actually is. It was interesting to see how he essentially shapes the character arc of Puss in Boots in this film.

In general, the mythical Wishing Star gave the film time to explore each of its characters and dive into their motives. It truly felt like each character had a purpose in the film, and none of them felt like throwaways.

Overall, “The Last Wish” succeeds in having a simple story that allows its characters to grow in unique ways. It was able to stand on its own without having Shrek be featured. The animation styles used in the film elevated various scenes.

With how “The Last Wish” turned out, it will be exciting to see if it leads to other "Shrek"-related projects in the future.

JALEN SERRANO is a News and Features Reporter. Serrano can be reached at jlserr2@ilstu.edu. Follow Serrano on Twitter at @jalen_serrano04.

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