The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Ant-Man movies occupy a unique space within the franchise’s setup, in that they’re deliberately positioned as smaller-scale alternatives that aren’t required to lean too heavily on the events that are happening elsewhere, with crossovers generally kept to a minimum and the threats faced by Scott Lang definitely not what Mysterio would deem Avengers-level.
The first two installments might be the lowest-grossing entries in the entire series since Phase One, but they’re also a lot cheaper to produce. The budget of Captain America: Civil War was almost as much as Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp put together, but Paul Rudd still ended up playing a key role in the former as an ally of Steve Rogers, before heading back to San Francisco for his own standalone caper that barely mentioned the massive implications of Civil War at all.
Ant-Man also played a pivotal role in the biggest movie in history, as Scott returned from five years stuck in the Quantum Realm to set the events of Avengers: Endgame’s time-heist in motion. But in a recent online interview with fellow MCU alumni Chris Evans, Rudd admitted that he still feels the pressure that comes with playing a superhero in the world’s most popular franchise, and he doesn’t want anyone to see him as the weak link just because his character isn’t as beloved as the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor.
“There’s pressure on every single movie you’re making in the Marvel world. You don’t want to be the weak link. A character like Ant-Man, very few people knew. They’d say, ‘Well, what does Ant-Man do?’. And I’d say, ‘He can shrink to the size of an ant, but he also retains strength, and he can control ants and talk to ants’. And people would just laugh.”
So far, the only weak link in the history of the MCU looks to be The Incredible Hulk, which could be erased from continuity completely and it wouldn’t change a thing about the current complexion of the franchise. With Ant-Man 3 now in the early stages of development though and rumored for Phase Five, Rudd will soon get a chance to further demonstrate his importance to the shared universe.