One day after the theatrical release as I was sitting on the couch my fiancée nudged me excitedly to show me the TikTok video that was playing on her phone. The TikTok was an already fully edited video made by a fan showing appreciation for the new Puss in Boots movie. The fan edit heavily focused on the genuinely menacing villain for the new movie. My jaw almost hit the floor as I was sent reeling in confusion about the possibility of the movie being not only passable, but good — really good.

I opened my own phone and decided to check the traditional review sites and was floored with what seemed to be an overwhelming chorus of love for the film. I genuinely couldn’t believe it, mainly because this wasn’t the movie that the trailers had presented. The trailers had presented a movie that I have taken to labeling “plushie movies”. Movies marketed towards children by movie execs who dipped their fingers too heavily in the creative process so that the movie would sell more merchandise of the perfectly symmetrical and “cute” characters. The trailer was full of bad one-liners, almost no personality, and was overly-edited. Yet, with this newfound sense of wonder about this movie me and my fiancée booked tickets near immediately. 

Later in the week as we sat down in our seats for the movie at our local AMC, I sat in excited glee to see the film. Not only did the film meet my expectations, but it exceeded them. I then found myself thinking a few days later about the film. Not only about how much I still enjoyed it, but thinking about what DreamWorks had done right with this film. 

*Spoiler warning from here on out*


  • The first thing that stood out to me is that they allowed characters that were intentionally ugly and asymmetrical. It in a very light degree reminded me of the movie Rango, where characters who you would expect to be only cute have scars, burns, and marks that distinguish them. The prime example of this is Goldilocks and her family of Bears who all have little details that draw your eye and add a history/mystery to the characters. Making them feel more real, more alive, and original. 
  • The movie has a seamless blend of 2-d and 3-d. I’d say one of the only movies in recent memory to have a very similar effect to this is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Throughout the movies there are effects (mainly slashing/metallic sparking) that jump out on top of the 3-d animation that grabs the viewer — leaving visually stunning fight scenes.
  • Whether it was walking through the dark forest, Jack Horner’s workshop, or the final set piece of the wishing star itself every scene is visually stunning. These scenes and terrains are original, and teaming with small details that increase the viewers enjoyment of every scene.

Voice Acting:

  • This movie in my opinion illustrates why studios should continue to hire actors with voice acting experience. The voice acting was incredible from all of the characters, and you didn’t have any issue imagining the voice belonging to their animated counterpart.
  • Antonio Banderas (Puss) especially shows a wide-range of emotions and introspection in his voice throughout all of the scenes.


  • The first song presented in the movie is both a bop, and a recurring theme that guides the movie. It’s a wonderful part of the soundtrack, and writing. 
  • Other than the first song, the weakest part of this movie is definitely its soundtrack. Saying that however, is like being the shortest giant (you still stand tall). The soundtrack does not draw you out of the movie at any point, and does its job. Not bad, not great, but just good enough.


  • The aforementioned one-liners, while bad in the trailer, were amazing in the film. The biggest reason for this is that most of them weren’t one-liners to start with, but instead the wrap-up to a humorous conversation. 
  • The speeches made by Death were bone-chilling and were surprisingly dark for a children’s movie. They were menacing, commandeering, and simple. It made his villainy feel realistic, strong, and inevitable.


  • The story writing for this movie is phenomenal. It is poignant, meaningful, and intelligent. It stands heads and shoulders above many other children’s movies, and is a great illustration that studios can present more complex plots to their intended age-range and trust children to understand. 
  • Character writing is complex and makes understandable characters you want to love. Even Jack Horner, the most evil man ever, is iconic in his lines and attitude making a minor villain you can’t help but love. The complexity of the side characters in this film is better writing than most children’s films do with their main characters. 
  • The deconstruction of the hero. Puss, has always been a legend who is well-known for feats in the Shrek-verse. Posing their hero against a threat he cannot overcome with only his dexterous skill creates a beautiful opportunity for story telling that the writers used to its full extent. Much of the story is spent with Puss not even fighting or struggling against Death in a physical sense. Instead, Puss face downs his fear of death in an emotional sense. It leads to an amazing plot that truly explores “The Legend” by deconstructing what it means to be one. Addressing the dichotomy between a happy life and the glorious story of one’s death.
  • Great villainy. In quite a few modern children’s movies there are many villains who are shown as silly. While this can work with examples such as the original Despicable Me, it often is a lazy way to both pad time and be lazy in the writers room. Making a simple, menacing, and understandable villain that immediately steals all the admiration that the writers had built up for our hero is a masterclass on how to write a villain.