6 Reasons Reviews For Adam Sandler’s New Sci-Fi Space Movie Are Mixed
8 mins read

6 Reasons Reviews For Adam Sandler’s New Sci-Fi Space Movie Are Mixed


  • Sandler shines in Netflix’s Spaceman, but critics argue he’s the glue holding it together.
  • Stunning visuals can’t save Spaceman from a lack of depth in its thematic content.
  • Carey Mulligan’s talent is underutilized in a film that struggles with its tonal balance.



The first reviews of the new Netflix movie Spaceman have resulted in a split in its overall critical reception. The latest Adam Sandler movie is quite a deviation from his previous straight-to-Netflix movies such as Murder Mystery (2019), Hustle (2022), and You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (2023). Spaceman stars Sandler as Jakub Prochazka, an astronaut on a solo mission at the edge of the solar system who encounters an ancient arachnid creature in his ship. Jakub forms an unlikely relationship with the giant spiderlike figure named Hanus, who is voiced by Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine).

Spaceman releases exclusively on Netflix on Friday, March 1, 2024, and also stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman, Maestro). The film is considered a space sci-fi adventure movie despite Sandler’s celebrated history as a comedic actor. Spaceman continues a trend of Sandler taking on more dramatic roles in recent years, most notably in the 2019 instant classic Uncut Gems. Despite an early Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 84%, Spaceman’s critical score on the site is at 60% with a Metacritic score of 57 as of the time of writing, indicating a divided critic pool.


Paul Dano Could Snag An Oscar First For His Weirdest Role Yet

Paul Dano’s upcoming role is definitely his strangest yet. It could, however, lead to him snagging an exciting and unprecedented Oscar first.

6 Adam Sandler Shines But Holds The Entire Movie Up

Sandler’s performance is widely considered the best part of the film

Adam Sandler wears an astronaut suit in Spaceman

Adam Sandler delivers another outstanding performance in a dramatic role in Spaceman, but many critics have pointed out that without Sandler’s above-and-beyond effort, there would not be a whole lot of appeal left in the new Netflix sci-fi movie. Ferdosa Abdi of Screen Rant points out that “Spaceman’s only draw is Sandler, although an impressive number of supporting actors aid him.” Many critics agree that the best part about Spaceman is Sandler’s performance including Owen Gleiberman of Variety, who noted in his review, “If any actor has the resources to hold down the center of a movie like this one, it’s probably Adam Sandler.”

One common point of interest in Sandler’s performance is his unmissable Czech accent, which many critics feel is something that the viewer must “get by” as the film goes on. Will Sayre of MovieWeb noted, “If you can get past the “accent” and its disappearance, it’s certainly a hoot seeing the committed Sandler float through space, self-medicate his anxiety with floating drops of vodka, and banter with his Earthbound liaison, Peter.” Ross Bonaime of Collider agrees, saying in his review, “It’s Sandler who makes Spaceman truly worthwhile, a nuanced role that gives the emotion it needs, without going overboard.”

5 Spaceman Is Visually Dazzling But Thematically Devoid

Sandler’s character explores compelling ideas without much payoff

the spider crawls around seats in Spaceman

Another point of strength in Spaceman is its dazzling and convincing outer space visuals, which surprisingly compare in moments to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter comments on the sophistication of the cinematography, saying “The balance in Jakon Ihre’s cinematography of claustrophobic intimacy with coolly observational mid-shots and broader-canvas views of the protagonist in space amplifies the melancholia in the film’s depiction of isolation.” The visuals perhaps distract in part from the various existential themes that provide little payoff. Ryan Lattanzio of IndieWire wrote, “Spaceman is a miserable wallow in the cosmos that ultimately leaves Sandler adrift.”

4 Carey Mulligan Is Far Too Underutilized In Spaceman

Mulligan is exceptional in everything but is not given much to work with here

Carey Mulligan and Adam Sandler stand intimately close together in Spaceman

Carey Mulligan has arguably the most formidable acting talent out of everyone in Spaceman yet is remarkably underused in the new Netflix film. Robert Daniels of RogerEbert.com says, “There are plenty of flaws in Spaceman. Mulligan’s character is underwritten — we don’t know what she does for a living or if she has her own dreams or aspirations, which might partially be the point. But the lithe script asks the actress to do some heavy lifting that in a lesser performer’s hands would simply crumble.” This is nearly a compliment to Mulligan’s exceptional skill and onscreen presence, but more of a general complaint that critics share with the film.

Furthermore, Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily asks, “If a film is (mostly) set at the other end of the galaxy where an astronaut is about to leap into the unknown, why is there such a focus on his marital tiffs, tediously lopsided as Mulligan’s character is of course just a pregnant prop?” This point raises the larger concern about the film’s intriguing yet somewhat ridiculous premise of marital woes in space.Howard W. of CBR makes a point on Sandler’s character, “If it takes a yearlong journey through space and an unlicensed six-eyed therapist to say he’s sorry, maybe Lenka should move on.”

3 Spaceman Is Tonally Ambiguous & Lacks A Cohesive Point

The central conflict of Spaceman is difficult to fully take seriously

The spider creature talks to Adam Sandler in Spaceman

The unusual contrast of contemplating something as common as relationship issues while being one of the few people in human history to experience life in outer space is difficult to chew for many critics and makes the point of Spaceman somewhat unclear. The Hollywood Reporter’s review says, “Nothing makes a couple’s emotional issues seem small and banal like a backdrop of cosmic infinity.”Alissa Wilkinson of The New York Times comments, “Spaceman is neither particularly astute about human nature nor discernibly interested in the politics embedded in it, and it is not even meme-ably bad, which is a shame. So much wasted potential.”

2 The Spaceman Movie Leaves Out A Lot From The Book

Spaceman is a loyal film adaptation that leaves several holes in its story

Adam Sandler struggles through the shuttle in Spaceman

Fans of the book that Spaceman is adapted from, “Spaceman of Bohemia” by Jaroslav Kalfar, might find themselves wanting more from the Sandler film adaptation. Screen Rant noted, “The most glaring issue with Spaceman is that the leap from page to screen leaves quite a bit of the story behind and saddles its lead actor with much of the heavy lifting.” This doesn’t necessarily indicate that Spaceman is a disloyal adaptation of the celebrated novel it was inspired by, but there are many story elements at play in the book that did not successfully translate to the movie, for whatever reason.

1 Spaceman Is Contemplative But Lacks A Sense Of Awe

Spaceman is somewhat sluggish for a movie set in outer space

Adam Sandler as Jakub in an Astronaut Suit in Spaceman

Part of Spaceman’s ambiguous impact as a film is due to the lack of awe-inspiring material given its naturally amazing outer space setting. Tim Robey of The Daily Telegraph comments, “We’re missing any real sense of awe – but for all its faults, this lands somewhere between noble failure and endearing oddity.” The mixed reviews surrounding Spaceman appear to be based heavily on viewer expectations going into the film. Fans of the book and Carey Mulligan will likely be left wanting more, while fans of Sandler’s more challenging and dramatic roles will probably find something to enjoy.

Spaceman Poster Showing Adam Sandler Walking Through a Forest in an Astronaut Suit


Spaceman is a sci-fi drama starring Adam Sandler and directed by Chernobyl director Johan Renck. The film, based on the book Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař, follows Jakub Procházka who goes on a solo mission to space and encounters a mysterious creature as he begins to lose touch with reality.

Johan Renck

Release Date
March 1, 2024

Free Association , Tango Entertainment


Colby Day

107 Minutes

Sources: Variety, MovieWeb, Collider, The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, RogerEbert.com, Screen Daily, CBR, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *