Spaceman Movie Review: Johan Renck's science-fiction drama Spaceman may be a film about an astronaut befriending a spider that can speak English, but of course, something deeper is going on. Spaceman is Adam Sandler bringing out his dramatic chops again on screen with impressive results. Spaceman is Renck using space as a metaphor for humanity to go on a self-introspection. Sandler rocks his part, and Spaceman is good in parts, even if this exploration of a crumbling marriage isn't Netflix answer to either 2001: A Space Odyssey or Solaris, or - even if it feels odd to write this - Marriage Story for the matter. Spaceman OTT Streaming Date and Time: Here’s When and Where To Watch Adam Sandler’s Sci-Fi Drama Online!

In some distant future, it looks like America and Russia are out of the space race, and it is the Czech Republic and South Korea who are dominating the show. Jakub (Adam Sandler), a Czech astronaut, is on a solo mission to Jupiter's atmosphere where he has to study and extract a mysterious space cloud called Chopra cloud (looks like ISRO has gone big and has started naming stuff in space... or did Nick Jonas name it?). He had left his pregnant wife Lenka (Carey Mulligan, graceful as always) behind, and though he is not aware of it, she is planning to leave him.

A Still From Spaceman (Photo Credits: Netflix)

Jakub's one consistent point of contact at the control room back on Earth is Peter (Kunal Nayyar... who, in a distant past, played an astrophysicist in The Big Bang Theory). The 'spaceman' is suffering from solitude and yearning to speak to his wife. It is then that he has a strange visitor to his spaceship - a spider-like being that talks human language and also possesses telepathic memory access. The creature, whom Jakub later names Hanus (Paul Dano) once he stops being afraid of it, claims to be present from the beginning of the universe and has sought out Jakub after sensing his loneliness and wants to help him deal with his seclusion.

Watch the Trailer of Spaceman:

Divided By Origins, United By Seclusion

The film blurs the lines between reality and Jakub's deteriorating mental state induced by isolation, making it unclear whether Hanus is genuine or a manifestation. Both Jakub and Hanus are victims of loneliness. As someone forced by circumstances to live a solitary existence, Hanus is curious as to why Jakub chooses to be away from his expecting wife and be alone, and therefore prods into his memories, giving us glimpses of their marital life.

A Still From Spaceman (Photo Credits: Netflix)

Meanwhile, we are also shown what Lanek is up to on Earth, but I wish the focus would have completely been on that spaceship, and what we see of Lanek could have been through Jakub's visions and memories (shown through fish-eye frames). It would have generated intrigue about the nature of their relationship instead of establishing early on why Lanek is disappointed with Jakub.

A Sluggish First Act

Spaceman deserves a patient watch since not much happens in the first half, as the movie mostly goes to all lengths to establish the compounded nature of Jakub's solitary existence (as one girl on Earth puts it, he is now the loneliest man). I am not sure why he needs to be lonely, though. At a future point in the movie, we see another spaceship with three astronauts. It looks like the Czech space mission has the budget to transport only one; never mind, they didn't think about what an isolated existence could do to a human.

A Still From Spaceman (Photo Credits: Netflix)

The ever-swirling camera and the close-ups of Sandler through some inclined angles, establishing the closed spaces he is in, create a sense of the harrowed existence he lives in, but it takes time for things to get moving. Spaceman: Adam Sandler Poses With His Family at the Premiere of His Netflix Sci-Fi Film.

Marriage Therapist Space-Spider

Once Hanus makes his existence, things get interesting. The spider trying to seek fellowship in Jakub's isolation, and Jakub, accidentally projecting his depression on Hanus (making the latter crave for food in one of the film's rare attempt to be light), made for an intriguing setup for this unconventional bromance. That intrigue wears off easily when Hanus pokes around Jakub's memories, and everything about his life is revealed to us. While the film attempts to explain Jakub's actions, delving into his memories and childhood, it risks overexplaining without sufficient strength to support the relationship's significance. Also, Hanus is quite a prick if you think about it closely - he is not only invading Jakub's private moments and eating his food, but to the very end, he keeps calling Jakub 'skinny human'. This is despite the fact that the creature can remember names, like calling Jakub's wife by hers. Who knew even space-spiders could be such an ass!

A Still From Spaceman (Photo Credits: Netflix)

Spaceman retains some verve in the final act when it goes 'Interstellar' with its protagonist and makes him see his past all at once. Jakub and Hanus traipsing through the purple mist of Chopra cloud should have made for great onscreen visuals; however, the CGI doesn't do complete justice here, a crucial aspect needed to pull off that poignant ending.

Final Thoughts on Spaceman

Spaceman takes off into space with a promising premise, marrying science fiction and marital discord while adding an icky but benevolent creature. Adam Sandler's restrained dramatic depth brings in the needed gravitas, and the unconventional bromance between the human and the spider adds intrigue. Yet, the film loses its trajectory in its attempt to dissect the complexities of Jakub's marriage, as the nuances around the love story are mostly missing. Spaceman is streaming on Netflix.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 01, 2024 11:09 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website