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What is Puss in Boots: The Last Wish about?
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a thoughtful meditation on mortality and existential crisis, packaged in a movie for kids. It’s kind of startling. Most movies for kids have the main character dealing with an issue someone under the age of 10 can relate to. Accepting yourself. Accepting others for being different. Self-confidence. Learning responsibility. Understanding right from wrong. Found family. Appreciating what you have and where you came from. Finding your voice. But Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a midlife crisis. It’s a movie that speaks more to the experience of people who are mid-30s and older. It still has sub-themes of found family or the pitfall of selfishness that kids can learn from and appreciate. But make no mistake: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is more than meets the eye.
Movie Guide table of contents
- Puss in Boots – Antonio Banderas
- Kitty Softpaws – Salma Hayek Pinault
- Perrito – Harvey Guillén
- Wolf/Death – Wagner Moura
- Goldilocks – Florence Pugh
- Baby Bear – Samson Kayo
- Papa Bear – Ray Winstone
- Mama Bear – Olivia Colman
- Big Jack Horner – John Mulaney
- Ethical Bug – Kevin McCann
- Mama Luna – Da’Vine Joy Randolph
- Written by – Paul Fisher | Tommy Swerdlow
- Directed by – Joel Crawford
The ending of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish explained
The ending of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish begins in the Dark Forest, atop the fallen wishing star. There, Puss, Kitty, and Perrito have a showdown against Goldilocks and the Three Bears Crime Family, as well as “Big” Jack Horner. It’s a bit of a slobberknocker as all of them compete for the map to make a wish. Goldi gives up making the wish in order to save Baby Bear from being thrown into the unknown. Puss is about to make the wish, then Wolf shows up, shocking everyone. Wolf has a final fight with Puss. Puss is able to regain his confidence and compete with Wolf. Wolf recognizes this isn’t the same arrogant cat as before, that Puss now values his life. So Wolf relents in his pursuit.
Jack Horner escapes from the bottomless bag Kitty had plunged him into. He’s about to make the wish, but everyone teams up to defeat him. He’s on the Wishing Star when it explodes. Everyone takes a beat to appreciate what they have. Puss with Kitty and Perrito. Goldi with the bears. Puss then offers to give Perrito a name, like Chompers. But Perrito wants to keep Perrito, as it’s, “what my friends call me.”
In a pre-credits scene, we see Puss, Kitty, and Perrito make off with the ship of governor Del Mar. The group is officially known as Team Friendship. Puss and Kitty are a couple. And the team’s about to arrive at Far Far Away land.
Puss’s defeat of Wolf, aka Death, marks a turning point in his life. Before, awareness of his own mortality caused Puss to lose a fight for the first time ever. It caused him to move in with Mama Luna and give up. It caused him to abandon his friends during battle and betray them when they trusted him the most. Fear affected him in major ways. So the showdown with Wolf isn’t just about survival. It’s about quality of life. It’s metaphoric for the way people every day have to deal with their own innate frailty. Death is inevitable. What do we do with that information? Sometimes, it can depress us. Sometimes for just a second, other times for years. If you let that fear rule you, it will ruin you. It’s important that Puss doesn’t defeat Wolf, rather, they battle to a stalemate. With Wolf warning he will return one day. There’s no escaping death. But Puss is prepared now to live his life with that knowledge. And instead of having it hurt him, it will only fuel him to live and love all the more.
Then the defeat of Jack Horner is another thematic moment. All these characters had come this far to make a wish. Only to realize that they already had what was important to them. Puss could have love with Kitty and friendship with Perrito, two things hugely missing from his life. While Kitty now has people she can trust. Goldi has a family who loves and cares for her. Does it matter that they’re bears rather than humans? Does she need to wish for a human family? Especially if it costs her the bears she already loves? Ultimately, these wishes are excess. What’s important isn’t gained through a wish. It’s gained through time and attention to the people and things you care about.
But Jack has the opposite perspective. He’s completely unaware of all the amazing things he has in his life. One telling scene is when he explains his backstory involved having loving parents, growing up in a mansion, and never wanting for anything. Instead of being satisfied with any of it, he wants more. It’s the pursuit of excess. And it ends up being a very, very fatal flaw.
The last scene conveys several things. First, that there’s a next adventure. And it might involve Shrek and friends. So there’s a lot of potential and promise there. But the scene also shows that Puss really has grown. The growth he demonstrated wasn’t momentary. He really has evolved and settled into a new chapter with Kitty and Perrito. It’s comforting and provides a sense of longer-term closure.
The themes and meaning of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
The fear of death
A lot of people have an awakening to their own mortality. When you’re young, death can feel like such a far away thing, restricted to old age. Even in your 20s, there’s a sense of so much life ahead. But in your 30s? 40s? You start to become aware of what it is to no longer exist. And that can be absolutely terrifying. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish explores this awareness through the main character’s fear of Wolf. Wolf is the embodiment of this existential fear. Even the thought of “Wolf” can be enough to send us into a tizzy. How do you face that fear? How do you come to accept its presence in your life? The answer presented in the film is through love and friendship, by not idolizing our youth but appreciating our present.
Wishes aren’t the answer
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has multiple characters in pursuit of using the wishing star, all because they hope the wish will fill a void in their life. Puss wants nine more lives, so he no longer has to fear death. Kitty wants someone she can trust, so she can no longer be lonely. Goldilocks wants a human family. And Jack Horner wants all the magic in the world.
At one point, Puss comes face to face with who he was when he had nine lives. And he was fun but superficial. Arrogant. Unreliable. The Puss who has only one life doesn’t see the same appeal in being that person again, the “legend”. In fact, he flashes to the nights he was cold and alone. His life had superficial highlights but lacked depth and companionship. Would having nine more lives really solve the heart of the issue?
Kitty admits she doesn’t need a wish to find someone she can trust. It’s just a matter of friendship and shared experience. She has that with both Puss and Perrito. And it seems safe to say she could have it with more people if she just let them in.
Goldilocks also already has a family. It may not be perfect, or even human, but they love her, they support her, and they sacrifice for her. What more could she really want, aside from aesthetics? Perrito puts it into perspective when he tells her she hit the orphan lottery. Those words resonate with her and she also gives up on the wish.
Then there’s Jack Horner. Jack’s just a deeply selfish person. Nothing’s good enough for him. He wants more and more. He believes he deserves more and more. That’s clear in his wish: to have all the magic so no one else has any. The thing is, he already had what might have been the largest collection of magical items. Famous object after famous object. The sword Excalibur. The phoenix. The flying carpet. Cinderella’s glass slipper. A bottomless bag. A concerning collection of unicorn horns. Does he really need more? Would having all the magic really be enough?
Puss, Kitty, and Goldilocks all give up on making the wish. They survive and walk away with a sense of satisfaction. Jack does not give up on the wish, and he does not survive.
Why is the movie called Puss in Boots: The Last Wish?
Narratively, “The Last Wish” refers to the pursuit of the remaining wishing star. So there’s a very literal final wish on the table. Thematically, the idea of a final wish has a few layers.
First, there’s Puss’s struggle with mortality. The character of the Wolf gives this fear a physical form, but it’s also present in a more existential way, like when Puss has a panic attack because he’s in battle and fears death. Framed this way, the idea of the last wish would be something you wish for before your demise. Like a final meal. Or a last request.
As bleak as that is, there’s a positive outlook. As much as characters wish for something more, almost all of them realize they already have everything they want. Puss is still alive. Kitty has someone to trust. Perrito has friends. Goldilocks has a family, even if it’s a bunch of bears. Jack Horner wants all the magic in the world and none for anyone else. But he already had what’s probably the greatest collection of magical items. Did he really need more?
So there’s an idea of wishes being excessive and characters realizing they don’t need to wish for anything. Appreciate what you have, as long as you have it. Do that, and good things will follow. You may not end up with everything you ever dreamed of, but you’ll probably have more than enough.
Important motifs in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
The map and the Wishing Star
Most people have some highly desired thing they wish for, thinking that if they only had “it” then the rest of their life would fall into place. But it never really works that way. Our lives are the sum of many, many parts. Often, whatever void we feel has more to do with our outlook than it does the acquisition of some missing piece. Money won’t necessarily mean you’ll find good friends and true love. That dream job doesn’t mean you’ll have someone to spend your life with. On the flipside, having someone to love doesn’t mean the rest of your problems disappear. If you continuously look ahead and sacrifice to make a wish come true, you may miss out on the many valuable things already in your life.
But Puss in Boots: The Last Wish also indicates that the pursuit of a dream can be beneficial. It does bring Kitty and Puss close. It does bond him and Perrito. It does help Goldilocks find a sense of peace with her family situation. The journey is, as the cliche goes, more important than the end. So we should wish. We should strive. But we need to take the time to appreciate where we are and what we have, when we’re there and while we have it. Otherwise it’s a recipe for regret.
The Dark Forest
The Dark Forest changes characteristics based on whoever has the map. When Puss has it, the key locations are The Valley of Incineration, Undertaker Ridge, and the Cave of Lost Souls.
When Kitty has it, the locations change to: Swamp of Infinite Sorrows, Mountains of Misery, and The Abyss of Eternal Loneliness.
When Perrito touches it? Pocket Full of Posies. River of Relaxation. And, lastly, Field of Quick & Easy Solutions.
Notice that Puss’s all relate to death. Kitty’s all relate to isolation and loneliness. And Perrito’s are all happy. The map acts as a reflection of the soul. And both Puss and Kitty are in negative, hurt places. While Perrito, despite all he’s endured, is pretty happy with what he already has. The path to the wish is easy for him because he’s carefree in life as a whole. While Puss and Kitty have to struggle through all of these emotional roadblocks.
It begs the question: what would each of our maps look like? And how can we find a way to be more like Perrito? Not as much of a punching bag. But to have an outlook that allows us to be at peace where we’re at, even as we strive for more?
Questions & answers about Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
What movie references were there in The Last Wish?
The song “The End” by the Doors is a musical reference to Apocalypse Now Then Puss saying “I got better” is a dialogue reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Of course there are references to Shrek as Last Wish takes place in the same universe.
Why did Puss call Wolf/Death “Lobo”?
Lobo is Spanish for wolf. Since Puss in Boots is Latino and speaks Spanish, it’s just a moment of blended language.
What were Puss’s eight deaths?
- Bull stampedes over Puss.
- Dogs discover Puss cheating at poker and rip him apart.
- Drunkenly falls off a tower.
- Is crushed by a barbell after calling off his spotter and trying to bench press too much weight.
- Has someone try to fire him from a cannon in an attempt to fast-travel.
- Eats shellfish despite being allergic to shellfish.
- Opens an oven that’s way too hot and the flames that escape burn him to a crisp.
- Crushed by a falling church bell.
Now it’s your turn
Have more unanswered questions about Puss in Boots: The Last Wish? Are there themes or motifs we missed? Is there more to explain about the ending? Please post your questions and thoughts in the comments section! We’ll do our best to address every one of them. If we like what you have to say, you could become part of our movie guide!