Uncharted first reactions: here's what the critics thought

Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in Uncharted
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Uncharted, the long-awaited movie adaptation of the hugely successful video game franchise, is in theaters from today (February 11).

Although British critics got to see the adventure in screenings this week, reviews for the movie were embargoed until 6am (BST) this morning. That is never a good sign and so it has proved with the movie getting a mauling from reviewers. 

Uncharted is based on Naughty Dog’s immensely popular video game franchise and follows treasure-hunter Nathan "Nate" Drake as he travels around the world to uncover various historical mysteries. 

In this movie, Drake, who is played by Spider-Man star Tom Holland, partners up with Mark Wahlberg's Victor "Sully" Sullivan. Sullivan, an older explorer and a mentor to Drake, takes the young man on an adventure where they find themselves up against a wealthy, ruthless treasure hunter and his mercenaries as they chase a lost fortune. 

The fortune is a vast amount of gold, lost by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan on one of his many lucrative voyages in the 16th century. Along the way, the pair also find themselves tracking clues that may lead to Drake's long-lost brother, Sam. 

A movie take on Uncharted has been in active development for over a decade, so long in fact that Wahlberg, who was once cast as Drake, got old enough to take on the part of his mentor, Sullivan, instead. 

Directors have come and gone, including David O. Russell, Free Guy's Shawn Levy and Bumblebee's Travis Knight. In the end, Zombieland and Venom director Ruben Fleischer has got the thing out of development hell and onto screens.

Sadly, judging by the critics' reactions, they may wish they'd left it there...

What are the Uncharted reviews like?

Bad. Almost exclusively so. 

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw awarded the film two stars, calling it: "A huge greenscreen action-adventure with a reasonable bang-buck ratio, but a box office algorithm where its heart is supposed to be."

His review was kinder than The Daily Telegraph's Robbie Collin, who was scathing about the new adventure, describing it as being made by "a "...pitiless sadist fed a copy of The Da Vinci Code through the Hollywood Marveliser."

Collin also critcized Wahlberg's casting, saying: "As a blue-collar stoic or preening meathead Wahlberg can be terrifically good value, but he proves about as natural a fit for a suave surrogate father figure as would a ballgown for an orangutan."


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The Times' Kevin Maher called it "tedious", while Radio Times' Huw Fullerton criticized the choice of Tom Holland to play Drake, saying: "Holland is generally miscast as Drake. While the film tries to add a bit more grit to his wholesome Spider-Man persona – there’s a running “bit” where he chugs down alcoholic beverages, which slightly reminds of a teenager trying to look grown up."

Mark Wahlberg and Tom Holland in Uncharted

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Total Film's Matt Looker was a little kinder, giving the film three stars, saying of the adventure: "Uncharted makes a decent play for filling an Indy-shaped hole in the movie market right now."

His review was something of an outlier, with the Evening Standard's Charlotte O'Sullivan ending her review fearing for Tom Holland's future. She said of the MCU leading man: "He’s too good for this would-be franchise. It’s hard to talk away from this kind of money, but it’s time for him to skedaddle."

TechRadar's own Axel Metz wasn't a fan either, writing that: "Uncharted’s lead actors will leave returning fans cold, and the movie’s lack of identity – save for some smartly choreographed fight scenes – makes it nothing more than mindless, harmless entertainment."

Uncharted is in UK theaters now and hits US theaters on February 18.

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…