Continuing on from where we last saw the adorable sword-swinging legend, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) remains a hero among his people, helping others, defeating countless enemies and making the world a better place. However, when Puss makes a significant discovery that he only has one life left out of the nine he once had, he begins to live in fear, doubt, and worry. He gives up the life he once had and hides in a safe house for runaway cats. While sheltered in the safe house, he meets a small dog (voiced by Harvey Guillén) pretending to be a cat as he has nowhere else to go. Not only does Puss grow a huge, stylish beard while here, but he continues to live in sadness with little energy to get up in the morning. All hope has been lost, and motivation is gone.
But things change for Puss when the safe home gets an unexpected visit from Goldilocks (Florence Pugh), Papa Bear (Ray Winstone), Mama Bear (Olivia Colman) and Baby Bear (Samson Kayo). Puss learns from the surprise intrusion that Goldilocks is trying to find a magic star that can grant wishes. Suddenly, Puss is ready to go on an adventure to find the wishing star for himself, hoping to get his nine lives back. However, Puss isn’t the only one on the hunt for the magic star. His old love interest, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), and the evil Big Jack Horner (John Mulaney) are also hunting for the magic star. Can Puss locate the star and make a wish before it’s too late?
Being an animation feature packed with many fairy tale aspects, this film sometimes feels like a storybook coming to life. It’s a beautiful, jaw-dropping animation with a new style that I admired, especially during the opening, which goes off with a bang. Like the previous film, there are plenty of sharp colours and impressive creativity as Puss ventures into many new locations and undiscovered mysterious worlds.
While the visuals are bright, the themes in this sequel feel more serious and darker, but again, it’s a welcomed addition. Parents, please note that some scenes are going to scare younger audiences, including the presence of Big Jack Horner, who has no care for others or the loss of his men. A mysterious wolf with glowing red eyes and a pair of scythes is hunting Puss down, which may also unsettle a very young audience. I was rather impressed and surprised by how dark some of the themes are here and how Puss goes on an unpredictable adventure that is more challenging than fans have ever seen him on before. Audiences will see Puss at the lowest moment of his life, making vast discoveries about himself. As a sequel, many new characters are introduced, growing and changing through the story dramatically, which I also loved seeing. However, the additional characters were also slightly disappointing as, on multiple occasions, audiences find themselves missing Puss and following a different character.
The voice work here is outstanding and superb. Antonio Banderas once again nails this leading character perfectly (or, should I say, “purfectly”). Plus, it’s evident that the actor still enjoys this character, and his passion for the film is apparent. I admired all the supporting actors’ voice work, delivering many heartfelt moments of dialogue and key lines that were snappy and witty.
Overall, while I can’t say I had loads of laugh-out-loud moments in this film like I enjoyed in the previous instalment or the Shrek Franchises, I’m proud to say I found this sequel went deeper, darker, and more adventurous than expected. Fans will see the adorable Puss at his worst but also at his strongest, which I loved experiencing on the big screen. Voice work is a knock-out, and the animation style feels like a classic fairy tale book coming to life for most of the duration, which is a nice, magical touch. Some younger audiences might be a little frightened by some dark tones. This animated film strikes strongly and positively like a fresh glass of cool milk.