National Treasure: Edge Of History Reviews Are In, See What Critics Are Saying About Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Disney+ Spinoff

National Treasure is a beloved adventure franchise that has long deserved a much-needed third entry. Nicolas Cage led the first two National Treasure films to great success, galavanting around the world trying to locate treasure troves based on history-based clues. The movies are an essential piece of many fans' more youthful years, and such childlike wonderment was ignited again when it was announced Disney+ ordered up a TV series based on the films, even if Cage wasn't attached to star. Now, the reviews are in for the much anticipated series, titled National Treasure: Edge of History, and there are differing thoughts floating around out there. 

The spinoff series premiered on Disney+ on Wednesday, December 14th, with an all-star cast including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Justin Bartha, Harvey Keitel, with a few new faces as well: Zuri Reed, Lyndon Smith, and Lisette Olivera. The show follows Jess as she embarks on a Pan-American treasure hunt while searching for information about her own family’s history. The first two episodes are currently available, with subsequent episodes landing on Disney+ weekly. 

While part of the franchise's praise has come from its tone, many critics found there was something lost in the new series where tone is concerned. Angie Han from The Hollywood Reporter said that while there was a silliness present, the fun was lacking, especially without Cage's manic energy guiding it all. She explained: 

Edge of History‘s most fatal affliction, however, is its total lack of charisma. It’d surely be impossible to match Cage’s off-kilter energy from the movies. But Olivera’s Jess reads as simply too nice and normal to sell the sort of urgent obsession that might compel someone to put everything on the line in search of a possibly mythical treasure.

Brian Tallerico from found that the show didn’t invoke the same levels of excitement as the original films, and seemed to underestimate the intelligence of its teen-geared audience.

It just feels like one of those shows that doesn’t trust its audience, spelling every emotional beat and bland plot development out in bold, highlighted dialogue. Teen viewers are smarter than Hollywood thinks.

Leila Jordan for Paste Magazine also had problems with the way many of the “cringe-worthy” teenagers were written in Edge of History. However, arguably the bigger issue she had was with the lack of actual mystery-solving that takes place in the episodic series.

Somehow Edge of History loses track of the best thing about National Treasure. The lack of actual puzzle solving and treasure hunting in the show is shocking. The films had everyone trotting around America for cryptic riddles yet the characters of Edge of History are often confined to twiddling their thumbs and developing boring romantic subplots.

All of that said, Edge of History did score some praise as well. Many critics seemed to enjoy the new direction the show was going, and the steps being taken to reattain the magic so many felt from the original films, even if there's work to do first. David Cote at the A.V. Club liked Olivera as the spunky lead of the series, and thought she did a lot for its charm.

Sweetly dignified with glimmers of humor, Olivera is an appealing lead, even if you wished she would develop some of the quirky swagger that helped Nic Cage pull off the foundational films.

The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan found the show a bit mindless, if still fun, in how it brings back the vibe of mid-budget films from the '90s, and feels that it's sure to entertain audiences.

Do you miss noise and bombast? Do you miss goodhearted, mindless entertainment? Do you miss the 80s? The 90s? Well, take heart, my friends, because they’re all back, courtesy of the new Disney+ series National Treasure: Edge of History

While the sequel may not rise to the heights as the much-loved Nicolas Cage-led National Treasure films, there still seems to be a lot to like about National Treasure: Edge of History. Early reviews for episode series tend to be more mixed, depending on how many episodes are available for screening, so they may not speak to the entirety of a project. But it sounds like many may see and embrace the heart in the new Disney+ series, with the understanding that it's more brain-on-pause entertainment than anything super deep. 

For fans wanting to check out the series, you can stream the first two episodes of National Treasure: Edge of History with a Disney+ subscription, with many more episodes to come. You can also watch the original films, National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets also streaming on the platform. For more information on other shows coming to streaming in the near future, make sure to check out our 2023 TV premiere schedule

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.