Uncharted Doesn’t Solve Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Problem

Uncharted Doesn’t Solve Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Problem

Audiences have connected with Tom Holland, but he has failed to land roles outside of the MCU that take advantage of his particular brand of charisma.

Although Tom Holland has found success as Peter Parker in the MCU’s Spider-Man movies, Uncharted isn’t the right movie to showcase the actor’s talents. Although its opening weekend box office signals success and nearly guarantees a sequel, Uncharted failed to expand upon Holland’s onscreen persona in interesting ways. Uncharted is just the most recent in a line of disappointments for Holland outside the MCU.

Before Spider-Man: No Way Home’s fantastic box office and rave reviews in December 2021, Tom Holland appeared in two other 2021 releases, Cherry and Chaos Walking, both of which failed to connect with audiences and critics. The grim dystopia of Chaos Walking featured Daisy Ridley, another actor struggling to find the correct roles to expand her star persona after rocketing to fame with The Force Awakens in 2015. Cherry attempted to tell a gritty true tale of opioid addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, but had a bizarre tone and received predominantly negative reviews.


Related: Why Uncharted’s Box Office Is Way Better Than Expected

Although Uncharted has scored at the box office, Tom Holland’s portrayal of Nathan Drake has failed to capitalize on what makes him so captivating as Peter Parker. Holland’s Drake comes across as a generic, macho adventurer in a generic action-adventure movie. This is in direct opposition to Holland’s strengths as a performer. As Peter Parker, his sensitivity and convincing onscreen awkwardness endear audiences to him. In Uncharted, Nathan Drake’s confidence and competency interfere with this aspect of Holland’s acting strengths.

What Makes Tom Holland Work As Peter Parker

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man No Way Home

Portraying Peter Parker in the MCU’s Spider-Man movies has proved to be an ideal fit for Holland’s abilities. While Tobey Maguire was praised for portraying the loneliness and melancholy of Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield’s portrayal perfectly captured Spider-Man’s irreverent wit, Tom Holland embodies Peter Parker and Spider-Man equally well. The youngest actor to have been cast as Spider-Man, Holland also expresses Peter Parker’s youth better than either of his predecessors.

While previous Spider-Man movies have struggled to sell their twenty-something leads as convincing teenage high school students, Tom Holland settled naturally into this aspect of the role. For the first time, Peter Parker and his classmates felt like young people, a feat not only made possible by Holland’s age, but his skill at portraying Peter Parker’s insecurity and nervousness. The role was also a perfect fit for Holland’s athleticism. Although not a typically tall leading man, Holland’s height was the perfect fit for the unassumingly powerful Peter Parker.

After six appearances as Spider-Man in the MCU and with more to come, this franchise has been the perfect opportunity to watch Tom Holland grow from a little-known performer to a household name. The promise of another Spider-Man trilogy with Holland is encouraging. The potential for Holland to become preoccupied with another franchise, like Uncharted, is less encouraging.

Related: Tom Holland’s Uncharted Origin Story Is Making One Major Change

How Uncharted Lets Tom Holland Down

Tom Holland Uncharted Plane Stunt

Tom Holland was let down by the movie around him in Uncharted, which felt like a watered-down combination of Indiana Jones and National Treasure. While both of those series had their own personalities and charms, Uncharted substitutes those quirks for the most conventional blockbuster filmmaking. In this setting, there is very little space for Tom Holland’s unique charisma to take root. Instead of emphasizing the insecurity or desperation of Nathan Drake’s search for clues to what happened to his brother, he appears predominantly as a confident adventurer.

It is understandable that Holland may have wished to portray a more conventional leading man as a change of pace from playing Peter Parker, but the result is a generic lead performance in a generic movie. Nathan Drake could have played to Tom Holland’s strengths while still distancing him from Peter Parker for the role, but this is not the case. Uncharted’s box office success guarantees this is not the last time we will see Holland as Nathan Drake, but even with potential refinements to the character in the sequel, it is a far less fitting role for Holland than Spider-Man.

Throughout Uncharted, Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg occasionally share convincing chemistry and banter, but the movie rarely allows them to. Instead, it shifts focus between setpieces and locations with little time devoted to establishing these characters’ likability or charm. If the pair should continue to appear in future Uncharted movies, this would create a second franchise commitment for Holland apart from Spider-Man which could prevent him from pursuing more eclectic roles which expand his big-screen persona.

Tom Holland’s Future Outside the MCU

During his decade as Iron Man, Tom Holland’s Marvel costar Robert Downey, Jr. experienced a different problem securing interesting roles. Whether he was playing Sherlock Holmes or a big-city lawyer in The Judge, many of Downey Jr.’s performances during his time with Marvel feel nearly identical to his portrayal of Tony Stark. Holland has tried a variety of projects away from Marvel and Spider-Man, but none have fully capitalized on his abilities. For better or worse, these movies have received very little publicity, and his reputation still shines from Spider-Man rather than being sullied by disappointments like Chaos Walking and Cherry.

Related: Why Cherry’s Reviews Are So Negative

Tom Holland’s recent casting as Fred Astaire in a biopic about the actor and dancer could help pave the way forward for Holland while also playing to his strengths. Playing Astaire will also allow Holland to take advantage of his physicality in a way that Spider-Man only hinted at. Not a franchise action movie like Spider-Man or Uncharted, the Fred Astaire biopic could open up more dramatic possibilities for Tom Holland down the road. While a sequel to Uncharted could possibly improve upon the first movie’s characterizations of Nathan Drake and Sully, Holland should also remain free enough to pursue non-franchise movies. As a young actor, Holland owes it to himself to stay away from series entanglements that do not serve or grow his talents and onscreen image.

Next: Uncharted’s Post-Credits Explained: Who The 2 Mystery Characters Are

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Author: Deann Hawkins