The "Shrek" series maybe DreamWorks Animation's most well known and famous franchise, but it's definitely not one that has always turned out great movies. Although I have highly enjoyed the first two "Shrek" movies for their great comedy and fun animation, the last two sequels have been all but disappointments. "Shrek the Third" ended up a trainwreck due to how bad the comedy was and uninteresting the story was while "Shrek Forever After" ended up being pointless since it barely continued the story in any form. Though now that DreamWorks has ended the tale involving their famous ogre, they have now started a new one focusing on their side character Puss in Boots. He made his grand debut in "Shrek 2" and became a fan favorite quickly, so it made sense that he got his own feature-length film. Though spin-off films are something I'm cautious about since they can sometimes backfire badly. Luckily, "Puss in Boots" is a very fun film and easily lives up to being a good spin-off from the "Shrek" series and was easily an exciting ride.
Set years before he encountered Shrek and Donkey in the forests of Far Far Away, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is an outlaw on the run trying to clear his name from a crime he didn't commit. While on the run though, he discovers that the outlaws Jack (Billy Bob Thorton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) have found magic beans that can grow a magic beanstalk leading to a giant's castle that has the goose that lays the golden eggs. He soon finds out that he's not the only one after the beans as another cat named Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) and Puss' estranged friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) also want to get the beans as well. While Puss is reluctant to work with Humpty again since he double-crossed him and gave him the reputation of being an outlaw, Puss eventually agrees to help the two get the golden eggs so they can repay the people of San Ricardo and help Puss clear his name. What follows next is a fun adventure with the three involving some fun comedy and exciting action sequences.
While the film may not seem as grand as some of the "Shrek" films, I'm honestly glad it wasn't since it needed to go back to the drawing board given how bad the last two films have been. The story has some very funny moments as I stated and I was very invested in the journey the trio take to get the magic beans. I really like the mystery and lore they even build up at the beginning of the film by stating how incredibly rare they are. I think it's a fantastic way to get audiences attention at the beginning of a film. As for the animation, I'd say it is really well done once again. It really looks nicely rendered and I got to give credit to how the animators were able to make some details like the fur. I even found the human character models tolerable since they were one thing in the Shrek series that have sometimes bothered me. At times they have looked uncanny, but here they look pretty good. As far as the characters go, there are not a lot of them but they still are fun. Puss still has the fun charm that made him likable in the Shrek films and even the new characters like Kitty and Humpty had some memorable moments. I also didn't mind Jack and Jill that much like I thought I would as they had some memorable lines to make them work. As far as problems go, there really is one big one. This film has way too much filler in the story which made it feel padded. Some scenes in the film just went on far too long than they should have like a dance scene and the scene where Puss explains his backstory. They should've been trimmed out and more time could've been spent on the group finding the magic beans which might have improved the film in a way, but that's really about it.
"Puss in Boots" is still a very fun spinoff with an investing story, good animation, and memorable characters to help make it soar. This really was an exciting adventure and I do wonder if DreamWorks is planning on ever continuing the backstory involving our titular hero before he met Shrek. If they are though, then I'm completely fine with seeing another one.