A close up still of Adam Sandler in Spaceman | Agents of Fandom

Netflix’s ‘Spaceman’ Fails To Ascend Despite Adam Sandler’s Best Effort

A lackluster script negates most of Sandler’s strong performance in Netflix’s latest sci-fi drama.

Starring in a one-man sci-fi drama is no small feat, yet Adam Sandler delivers a compelling portrayal amidst the complexities of Spaceman‘s story. Adapted from Spaceman of Bohemia, by author Jaroslav Kalfař, screenwriter Colby Day fails to bring justice to the novel by awkwardly mixing genres, delivering half-hearted dialogue, and wasting the potential of its talented cast.

Spaceman soared to the top of my list of most anticipated films of 2024 due to its stellar ensemble. As a long-time Sandler fan, I eagerly anticipated his transition into more dramatic roles following his success in Hustle and Uncut Gems. Despite triumphant visuals and a stellar performance from Sandler, Spaceman is an emotionally underwhelming, mediocre science-fiction drama.

Adam Sandler Delivers a Commanding Performance As the Lead in ‘Spaceman’

Adam Sandler as Jakub Prochazka in his blue space suit in his imagination in Spaceman | Agents of Fandom
Adam Sandler’s talent is on full display as he showcases the complexity of his character in Spaceman. Image Credit: Netflix.

After a subpar performance in Murder Mystery 2, Adam Sandler returns for another Netflix drama. Although the film has some troubles, Sandler does everything he can to deliver a powerful and assertive performance when faced with a hopeless script. He takes center stage leading in this mostly solo film, giving one of his best performances to date as he showcases his character’s inner demons while being stranded alone with a giant talking spider. His capability to seamlessly transition from comedic roles like Hubie Halloween and Grown Ups to more serious projects like Spaceman and Uncut Gems is a testament to his versatility as an actor.

Besides Sandler’s compelling performance, the remainder of the cast delivers commendably, most notably the scene-stealer Paul Dano. Dano has been a household name following his work in Prisoners, and his ability to give unsettling performances continues in Spaceman, even in a mere voice-over role as the spider, Hanus. The chemistry between Dano and Sandler is one of the key elements that elevates Spaceman into somewhat watchable territory, despite its many flaws.

Carey Mulligan is one of Spaceman‘s main draws, however, her talent and character are criminally underutilized, as if she is included merely for the sake of it. As Jakub’s wife, Lenka, Mulligan’s character lacks significance, in both past and present scenes, appearing as more of a burden than an integral part of the film. Spaceman would have benefited from delving deeper into Lenka’s character and exploring the dynamics of her relationship with Jake and what pushed them to their breaking point, rather than assuming viewers would inherently understand the complexities between them.

The Overly-Complicated Narrative Lacks Bite

Adam Sandler as Jakub Prochazka aboard the spaceship holding a breathalyzer in Spaceman | Agents of Fandom
Director Johan Renck’s latest film is an ambitious attempt at the sci-fi genre that fails to set itself apart. Image Credit: Netflix.

Steering away from the captivating performances, Spaceman is hindered by its complex and confusing narrative. As Sandler’s Jakub is alone aboard a spaceship orbiting Jupiter, he forms a fascinating yet uneasy bond with a mysterious spider. The first act of Spaceman is where the film shines brightest, focusing on Hanus’ enigmatic origins, and the intriguing connection between the two characters.

However, the subsequent acts decline as the constant shifts between the spaceship and Earth lead to the pacing feeling excessively sluggish, often bordering on tedious. Spaceman fizzles in its hesitancy to fully explore the memories shared between Jakub and Lenka, leaving a sense of incomplete storytelling in being unable to empathize or connect with any of the characters, aside from Hanus.

Netflix’s ‘Spaceman’ Fails To Captivate With Its Mediocrity

The spider, voiced by Paul Dano in Spaceman | Agents of Fandom
Paul Dano dominates in Netflix’s Spaceman, with his menacing voice acting in the role of Hanus. Image Credit: Netflix.

While Spaceman struggles to deliver a captivating premise and grapples with a convoluted narrative, it’s essential to acknowledge the remarkable work of director Johan Renck and cinematographer Jakob Ihre‘s outstanding visuals. Particularly in the sequences set away from Earth and aboard the spaceship, Spaceman showcases breathtaking imagery reminiscent of Interstellar. While it pays homage to past sci-fi films like The Martian, the film’s loaded narrative overshadows these visual accomplishments.

Spaceman is now streaming on Netflix. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest entertainment news and reviews.

'Spaceman' Review

'Spaceman' Review
2.5 5 0 1
2.5 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Adam Sandler delivers a strong performance.
  • Visuals are eye-catching.
  • Paul Dano is menacing, adding depth to the spider.

The Bad

  • The puzzling narrative makes it hard to follow.
  • The script lacks bite, making you feel uninterested.
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