This spin-off from the “Shrek” movies, bringing the petite but highly aggressive cat voiced by Antonio Banderas to the forefront, continues the earlier series’ penchant for sending up the world of fairy tales in goofy ways. The trick had paled badly by the time “Shrek the Third” appeared, but shifting the emphasis to a subsidiary character has reinvigorated it, and “Puss in Boots” emerges as an enjoyable enough romp, if no template-breaker like “Rango.”

The script by Tom Wheeler is in effect an “origins” story that treats the old fairy-tale with an irreverent spirit, turning the character into a mixture of feline Zorro and Hispanic Pepe le Pew. Puss was, we’re told, an orphaned kitty taken into a home for disparate castoffs, where he becomes a pal to Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), a misfit who dreams of finding magic beans that will bring wealth and fame. Eventually Puss becomes a hero to the town by saving an old woman about to be gored by rampaging bull, but the jealous Dumpty involves the unsuspecting kitty in a robbery, forcing him to go on the lam. Dumpty, by contrast, was captured and jailed.

Now a thrill-seeking adventurer, Puss hears tell of the magic beans Dumpty had always sought, and attempts to steal them from their current owners, Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), a couple of rough-hewn thugs constantly bickering with one another. But his effort brings him into conflict with another would-be cat burglar, the masked Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), who—after an amusing dance-off with Puss—reveals herself as the accomplice of none other than Humpty Dumpty. Though still leery of his old childhood comrade, Puss agrees to team up with him to secure the beans, climb the beanstalk to the giant’s castle, and steal the golden goose. They succeed after a frenetic chase in the clouds, but on their return to terra firma our hero finds that his collaborators are not at all as they seemed.

The last act of “Puss in Boots” gets awfully frantic (one episode involves not just a land-based chase through the mountains but a wagon that literally takes flight), and some of the elements—particularly the arrival of Mother Goose, come to reclaim her baby—go past the point of wacky send-up into the realm of the positively bizarre. But overall, despite some missteps toward the close, the movie—like its star—lands on its paws. It incorporates into the dialogue and action plenty of bits involving punning feline allusions, but doesn’t beat the practice into the ground. The voice work, especially by Banderas, who applies his silken Spanish-accented baritone like a rich sauce, is mostly fine (though Galifianakis’ sing-song delivery gets a mite tiresome). And the animation is full and detailed. Even the 3D is employed intelligently, to make the actions sequences more exciting but not overwhelm the more intimate moments.

It’s pretty clear that another installment of “Shrek” would have meant two too many. With “Puss in Boots,” DreamWorks and Paramount have found a more than acceptable way of extending the series without simply repeating it. But though the movie is amusing and certainly well-made, it’s doubtful that the cat has nine lives in him in the form of eight more sequels.