When we bade farewell to the happily honeymooning ogres Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz), it seemed like a "happily ever after" ending. True love had saved Fiona from the curse that bound her in the guise of a human being during the daylight. At last she was free to be her ogre-ly self, 24-7. She had learned to accept who she was, and she had discovered someone who loved her that way. Shrek had overcome his antisocial attitude and become a local hero. Donkey (Eddie Murphy) seemed happy to have found friends who would tolerate his nonstop talk.
Viewers cheered for Shrek's triumph, but it was Donkey who stole the show. So, sure enough, we get an extra helping of donkey's braying nonsense in Shrek 2. We also get more of everything we liked about the first film, and less of the things that didn't work.
In Shrek 2, Shrek begrudgingly accepts an invitation to travel with Fiona to the land of Far Far Away. Fiona's parents (John Cleese and Julie Andrews) are expecting to meet a charming new son-in-law … literally. They think Fiona's rescuer was Prince Charming himself.
But Charming (Rupert Everett), who was indeed dispatched to rescue Fiona from captivity in a dragon cave, got there too late. Shrek had already done the job. Apparently, Shrek never played theatres in the land of Far Far Away-the king and queen know nothing of Fiona's marriage to the jolly green giant from the swamp. Thus, it's not just Shrek that will surprise them. They'll be shocked to see their daughter looking ogre-ish in the daylight.
When Charming learns that Fiona's already made her marital vows, he returns home to plot Plan B with his mother, the infamous Fairy Godmother (Jennifer Saunders). While Far Far Away is governed by royalty, Godmother's the one who really runs the show, ruling the kingdom with a dangerous magic wand and a pantry full o' potions.
Shrek and Fiona are welcomed to the castle by a crowd of astonished and appalled locals. The people of Far Far Away, like their reigning monarchs, judge others by their appearance—and Shrek's not their idea of admirable. For a while, it looks like a storybook retelling of Meet the Parents—when Shrek and the king trade insults over dinner, he looks likely to "Hulk out." While Fiona consoles her fuming husband behind closed doors, the king becomes an easy subject for the manipulative Godmother. He determines to take Shrek out of the picture—first, by the hiring of a notorious assassin, and then by the influence of enchanted beverages that promise more than your daily dose of antioxidants.
The first threat, a feisty feline in famous footwear, is played by Antonio Banderas with panache and personality—Puss-in-Boots nearly steals the show. If there's a Shrek 3, there will be at least as much expectation of more Puss as there is of more Donkey. And the way things look, we may as well speculate about Shrek 4, 5 and 6. Banderas' exuberant contributions and some animation brilliance make this one of the all-time great cartoon cats. He deserves his own franchise.