The Real Villain: A Deeper Look Into Puss in Boots

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” like other children’s entertainment today, tackled the intricacies surrounding more mature topics while handling them in a way fitting for the target audience. 

This influx of content of this nature has led to many parents taking to social media to encourage showing these types of media to children. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” brings up a larger question of who the real movie villain is. The answer is not Death.

Puss encounters Death in an empty bar after the loss of his eighth life and, after feeling true fear for the first time, retires his title and decides to live a life of complacency. Upon learning of the “Wishing Star” he begins his journey to wish his nine lives back but is met with many opponents along the way. As the final battle between Puss and Death comes to an end, it appears as though Puss has beaten Death, when in reality it is not necessarily a victory but rather the overcoming of a natural facet of life.

Though Death was one of the more terrifying characters in the movie, he explains how he has only arrived due to Puss’ ungratefulness of his past lives and to set the natural order of the world as a result of his continuous defiance. His purpose in the story does not have villainous intent. While it could be argued that he does stand in opposition to the protagonist, Puss, their relationship transcends the typical archetype of protagonist and antagonist and exhibits the balance between life and death. 

Death’s willingness to spare Puss in the end, after he accepts death and realizes what truly matters in life, emphasizes his role as an extension of nature compared to a villain in its truest form. The cheesy message is a given as it is still a children’s movie, but the understanding of Death’s role by Puss and the recognition of Puss’ new mindset display the intricate relationship that exists between the two.

More than just the whistle signaling his entrance and menacing character design, the concept of death is intimidating to most adults. However, it is generally accepted that death is typically a naturally occurring instance and will eventually have to be accepted by all. This does not justify the ending of Puss’ life but brings up the main conflict in the two’s relationship, the unwillingness to take Death seriously and understand the consequences of wasting his previous eight lives. 

Every encounter Puss has with Death, even before he reveals who he is, made Puss realize the finality of death. The story shows his character’s eventual acceptance of this fact and that in the end, he achieved what he wanted out of life from this adventure. 

All of this to say, the conclusion of their relationship is understanding that death is natural and being willing to accept that and live a constructive life full of meaningful connections despite the inevitable.

While Puss and Death’s relationship displays the complexity of Death’s position in the story, there is also the case of Jack Horner, who is the true villain. 

He displays all the villainous intent contained in the movie, with the sole desire to obtain all the magic in the world for his own selfish purpose. He is the real opposition to not only Puss’ story but also every other side character. 

The most apparent villain, in its truest sense,  in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is Horner. The persistence in his goal and means of achieving it place him in direct contrast to the message the movie works to convey.

The complexities within the movie further the new genre seen in children’s media. The more mature topics in this and other content such as “Shera and the Princesses of Power” and “Bluey” should encourage more parents to expose their children to media like this. 

The messages in “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” are integral to the upbringing of children of the new age and should be looked into by more parents. Exposing children to such media allows for them to be more aware of the world around them and get a realistic look at situations. It also helps parents identify ways to handle issues such as death and divorce as they can be difficult topics to bring up with children.

 “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” does a wonderful job of handling the difficult topic of death in a way that brings about understanding among both parents and children alike.