In years past, I took pride in the fact that it took six weeks to get through the play. We'd spend a week of introduction material, followed by one act per week. The first day or two was spend on the text, then a group activity, then the movie version of the play, and finally the film version of act 1. By the time act 2 came around, students were sick of act 1...and almost couldn't believe that the play had more to offer.
This year, aside from some two-hour delay setbacks, we just piled through. This past week alone, I did Act 3-5. While it's tough to get any group of students excited about Shakespeare at 7:45am, I think the story-like selling of the play made it much more accessible. The natural momentum of the story was vital to keeping flow alive.
Any English teacher knows that the best way to kill a story is to analyze it to death. If the surface story and meaning aren't present, there's no point in looking for more. It's something to consider as search for more "rigor"...sometimes momentum is required to break through.