Spaceman Delivers a New Version of Adam Sandler and a Thought-Provoking Ending

'Spaceman' is an intriguing film where Adam Sandler plays someone other than his goofy, comedic self.

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Feb. 29 2024, Published 1:55 p.m. ET

Adam Sandler as Jakub in 'Spaceman' wearing a spacesuit on Earth.
Source: Netflix

Spoiler alert: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Netflix’s Spaceman.

If there’s one thing we can count on Adam Sandler for, it’s comedy. However, Spaceman, based on the book Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař, introduces us to a side of the Sandman that is both captivating and unrecognizable. Stripping away the goofy persona that comes out in nearly all of his films, Adam delivered us a movie that makes us question life, our choices and behavior, and our purpose for being.

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Unlike most of Adam's films, which are watched for sheer pleasure, Spaceman made me question my own tendencies, and oddly enough, sympathize with an eight-legged creature I’d literally waste an entire bottle of dish soap on just to eliminate. So, what does it all mean? Let’s delve into the spider’s significant meaning in Spaceman and make sense of the ending of the film.

What does the spider represent in ‘Spaceman’?

The large alien spider in the bathroom on the spaceship in the film 'Spaceman'
Source: Netflix

For some, the spider featured in Spaceman is exactly what it looks like, a giant alien spider that hails from the depths of the universe. His mission? To help Commander Jakub Procházka’s (Adam Sandler) make sense of his emotional distress and more importantly, his role in his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), wanting to leave him.

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Perhaps, though, the spider, who Jakub names Hanuš, represents Jakub’s conscience. Jakub becomes increasingly lonely on his mission to explore the Chopra Cloud, and his mental health only worsens as calls with his wife become less frequent, and often consist of them sitting in silence. As a way to cope with his loneliness, Jakub conjures up this creature to keep him company, but not without a price.

Jakub comes face to face with the giant alien spider in his spaceship in 'Spaceman'
Source: Netflix
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Our conscience will sometimes step in when our actions need to be evaluated. In other words, our minds force us to face both our good and bad truths. In Spaceman, it’s clear Jakub is at a point in his life where his conscience needs to be awakened. While he initially makes it seem like an outside factor interfered with him being able to make contact with his wife, the visions Hanuš subjects Jakub to allow him to see how selfish and uncaring he has been, hence, the reason Lenka is pulling away.

Consider the scene where Jakub recollects back to the time when he rushed his wife off the phone, just after she dealt with a miscarriage and was seeking support and comfort from her husband.

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Not even considering his wife’s feelings, Jakub chooses to deal with a matter he assumed was more important, a case of burning eggs. To him, his “emergency” at that moment outweighed anything she was going through. But it's with Hanuš’s help that Jakub not only realizes his mistakes but that he’s been living life wrong — and also that he can “end” the life he is leading and start over.

Jakub and Lenka share an intimate moment in 'Spaceman'
Source: Netflix
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As the spaceship nears the Chopra Cloud, which Hanuš claims is the beginning, Jakub comes closer and closer to owning his mistakes and understanding that life doesn’t go one way. People make mistakes every day, but they can be used to enforce change and redirect our lives down the path we intend, not the one we may have accidentally stumbled down.

Hanuš may put Jakub in risky situations, but he can ultimately be credited for saving Jakub from himself.

Adam Sandler as Jakub in Spaceman looking concerned.
Source: Netflix
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What happens at the end of ‘Spaceman’?

At the end of Spaceman, Jakub finds himself viewing life in a very different, less selfish lens. Through his several moments of self-realization during “Mission to Chopra,” and with the help of Hanuš, of course, Jakub learns how to accept his less flattering qualities and understand that new beginnings exist. Nothing screams this message louder than when Hanuš reassuringly tells Jakub, “Everything is permanent, yet nothing ever is.”

But it takes Jakub’s conscience (aka Hanuš) to reject him for him to make these discoveries. By the end of Spaceman, Jakub realizes that he never made a real effort to know his wife and that he never really deserved her. He also acknowledges how wrong he has been for choosing his passion for exploring space over the people who put him first.

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Many people today can resonate with this as they too are guilty of giving priority to working and making money, leaving less of themselves available for their family, partners, and kids.

Although Jakub's life is left hanging in the balance after he exits the spaceship to save Hanuš, marking yet another breakthrough for Adam’s character, he's rescued by the Koreans and gets a second shot at life with Lenka.

Spaceman streams on Netflix on March 1, 2024.

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