Together, these images depict a similar NYC to the award-winning animation from 2018Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” just more grown up. This story does not follow cartoon characters, but rather the people who create them. We get scenes about sex, drug use and hangovers.
We also get some of Kid Cudi’s politics, which he cleverly weaves together throughout “Entergalactic.” When we first meet Meadow, we see her telling her non-black best friend Karina (Vanessa Hudgenshaving fun with her exaggerated character) that all white guys look the same to her, including her manager Reed (Christopher Abbott)—and they are all excluded from her dating pool. Why? “Oppression,” she says in a one-word, pitiful response, showing her bad bitch bona fides.
“Intergalactic” is decidedly and unapologetically black, even though its characters exist in a multiracial world. At his cartoon job, Jabari is skeptical of light-skinned Puerto Rican Len (Arturo Castro) who tries to form a common bond with him, even though his group of friends covers the spectrum of human skin tones.
And also on gender, “Entergalactic” claims a progressive point of view. Both Jabari and Meadow are flawed, dynamic people who must compromise and grow to find happiness – both are equally human. Continuing this feminist perspective, Jabari tells his pal Ky (Ty Dolla $ign) to “Stop saying bitches,” modeling what healthy masculinity looks like when no feminine eyes are looking. And in a scene that resonates with my experience as siblings, Jabari calls on his sister Ellie (Maisha Mescudi) for love advice. She gives it to him straight – bringing just the right mix of knowledge about women, her brother and the way the world works.
And that’s before we get to the music.
Kid Cudi has made a name for himself – in music, fashion and general pop culture – for a reason. His lush tracks here are sure to appeal to hip-hop heads and neophytes alike. These songs capture the ups and downs of romance and the search for identity that comes with it. Here there is no abrasive aggression or braggadocio. Instead, it’s soul-searching stuff. It’s the type of music everyone can relate to.
As a work of art, “Entergalactic” is evocative, beautiful and smart. I can imagine it playing at parties for decades to come. Just don’t approach it like a TV show.
On Netflix today.