movie reviews


Adam Sandler talks to a space spider for two hours in Netflix's quirky science-fiction flick...

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field

Jakub Procházka (Adam Sandler) has dreamed of becoming the very first Czech astronaut since his tough childhood, and one day that dream finally comes true when he is sent on a dangerous solo mission to investigate a mysterious violet-pink nebula. Once in space, it's anything but a dream and Jakub begins to understand the meaning of life during his anxiety-inducing isolation, while his pregnant wife Lenka (Carey Mulligan) prepares for divorce back on Earth.

Spaceman is a silly but serious psychological space journey that revolves more around the inner world of man than the mysteries of space, something we've already seen repeatedly since Tarkovsky's 1972 ultra-classic Solaris. Most recently, it was Brad Pitt who realized the truth about life in the spectacular Ad Astra. Now it's Adam Sandler's turn to navel-gaze and be flushed with cosmic peace of mind, in what can best be described as a meditative therapy session with a space spider.

Oh, I guess I failed to mention that Sandler also befriends a giant cosmic spider called Hanuš with a penchant for hazelnut cream. Is the spider a real alien or just a figment of his imagination? It doesn't matter, because Paul Dano's eight-legged passenger becomes the film's greatest asset as Johan Renck (Chernobyl) slowly explores what it means to be human in a cold, empty galaxy. It's cozy and warm, but it's easy to let your concentration drift off into space once you start to understand what the many conversations between man and spider are up to. For me, who devours sweetly philosophical space odysseys, this fits me like a glove, but it is also not as deep as it first appears. It becomes more flashy and glittery than thought-provoking, which I had hoped for more of given the talent behind the camera.


Adam Sandler is ok in the lead role. Not hair-raisingly awesome like in Uncut Gems or Punch-Drunk Love, or surprisingly solid like in Hustle or Spanglish. He's certainly capable here, at least good enough not to distract from the fact that Spaceman is an existential character drama, and not one of Netflix's many dumb Sandler comedies. Visually, it's also intriguing, with the stealth-Soviet set design and subtle music really succeeding in creating a captivating atmosphere in the claustrophobic station corridors. But in the end, that's all it is: pleasant superficiality.

This is an ad:

Spaceman is a decent space drama that does not bother the viewer with a lot of sci-fi technical details and rather finds a kind of comfort in chatty mumbo jumbo under purple space clouds, but it had the potential to be much more than that. I haven't read Jaroslav Kalfař's book on which the movie is based, but I get the feeling that you can find much more emotional depth in the book than the movie. Spaceman is worth your time if you mostly just want to see Sandler in therapy with a cute giant spider.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

Related texts



MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

Adam Sandler talks to a space spider for two hours in Netflix's quirky science-fiction flick...

Loading next content