Rather than a dull-eyed lapdog (Skeet Ulrich in the original), the dream boy here is “woke,” calling out in-class bullying, condemning heteronormativity, and jamming to Princess Nokia, after declaring, “More than anything, tonight I really just want to dance!” It’s a surprising transformation that makes Timmy more than a mark; it makes him one of the gang. The second act digs into who he is beyond that agro-bro front, resulting in a poignant revelation, which is met with support, not scorn. However, this tender scene pivots to a plot twist that ultimately takes away from the rest of the coven.
The original Craft’s story centered on the perspective of straight cis-girls, most of whom were white. The Craft: Legacy proves more inclusive, involving main characters who are people of color and LGBTQA+. On top of that, it explores the hurt and humanity in its bullying boy. However, Lister-Jones spends more time developing Lily and Timmy than she does the rest of the coven. There’s a jubilant montage of the girls blossoming friendship, which includes magical make-up application, movie nights, and spell-casting to battle back non-violently against jerks. Yet the individual girls get little definition. Adlon is the spunky one, who has the heart of a hippie and tends to let her mouth run away with her before her brain can catch up. Simone is the rational one, who takes stock with clear eyes. Luna is the glamorous one, who carries with her a cool confidence. They are charismatic. Yet their backstories, trials, and desires are unexplored. After the midpoint, the story veers away from all of these characters to focus on Lily…and a bunch of stuff to set up another sequel.
Mining the culture war for an antagonist bigger and badder than traumatized Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), Lister-Jones brews up a not-so-secret society that would do these young witches harm. It’s an intriguing way to make this story higher stakes and politically urgent. However, the execution here is frustratingly slipshod. The Craft: Legacy throws in a quartet of characters who are thinly sketched, yet have a dominating role on Lily’s journey. Thus, Spaeny’s part switches from discovery to defensive, which gives her little play beyond fear. In the requisite villain monologue, more questions are raised than answered. Thankfully, this bumbling barrels into an exhilarating face-off that weaves together the girls’ powers, not only of magic but also in their unity. Regretfully, the final moment of this ferocious finale feels bizarrely truncated, as if the PG-13 rating pushed producers to cut a gruesome send-off for the sinister foe.
Movie Sequels That Took Forever