For anyone who loves Christmas movies, it probably would not be a surprise to hear Home Alone’s main character, Kevin McCallister, is a jerk. In the now classic Christmas film, Kevin acts selfishly and cruelly. He is entitled throughout. While at the end of the film he does get the satisfaction of being reunited with his mother, he does not do much else. He momentarily bonds with his neighbor he previously assumed the worst of. He is even unnecessarily mean in his interactions with his family: he attacks his brother and causes a commotion when he doesn’t get his cheese pizza. When he is reprimanded for his misguided actions, he proclaims, “Families suck… I don’t want to see any of you again for the rest of my whole life.” He then gets excited when he (mistakenly) realizes that he got his Christmas wish of making his family disappear. When his house is under attack, he acts with cruelty in inflicting punishments upon the Wet Bandits.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a chance to see the familiar characters of the first film again, but this time the audience gets to see them for who they really are. In the second movie, Kevin matures. He gives back. He learns from his past. While Kevin does seem to have a blatant disregard for his family and the fact that his mother may be worried he is lost in one of the biggest cities in the world, he is later motivated to do what he thinks is right. Kevin is not incentivized to catch the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, for any other reason other than to stop them from stealing money that would have been donated to the children’s hospital. While he and the Wet Bandits have a storied past, he does not act out of vengeance but rather out of selflessness. That is why he leaves the note for the Toy Chest’s Mr. Duncan: to prove that he broke his store window for the greater good. Kevin is no longer looking to get even, he is looking to do what is right. He is a bit reckless in how he enacts his punishments, he is doing so for the sake of others. Even in his interactions with the pigeon lady in the park, while he first assumes the worst of her, too, he later bonds with her in the way that only a real friend would. Kevin returns at the end of the film to meet with his new friend to let her know that he truly cares for her, symbolized in his gift of the turtle dove. Throughout the whole sequel, while Kevin is enjoying his time alone in New York City, he spends the back half of the movie trying to reunite with his family, especially his mom.
Home Alone introduces us to the iconic protagonists and its sequel shows us why we should really care about their fates. They have grown up and desire nothing more than to be with the ones they love at Christmastime. Yes, Kevin’s pranks in 2 are should have caused more bodily harm than the film shows, but they do not because Kevin is not trying to be violent, he is only trying to seek justice. Kevin is a burgeoning pre-teen and while he still acts like the baby of his family (and rightfully so) he embodies the Christmas spirit in his thoughts and actions.