Admittedly, this comparison has less to do with Ant-Man’s strength as a character and more to do with the fact that there’s not a ton of Avengers left who can take up the role. Of the six members of the original Avengers team, three of them are gone for good. Thor and the Hulk have grown increasingly silly over their past few movie appearances, to the point where it’s gotten hard to imagine them carrying meaty storylines. Hawkeye still feels like an afterthought even when he has his own show, and Spider-Man has basically been removed from the MCU after “No Way Home.” This leaves Scott as one of the few candidates left.
Maybe it’s a stretch to expect Scott to soon be given some of the more serious storylines that Tony got, but the final moments of “Quantumania” make a good case for it. Although he seemingly defeats Kang (Jonathon Majors) at the end, the movie ends with him giving an anxious, guilt-ridden monologue where he wonders if he did the right thing. Did he actually kill Kang as he thinks he did? And if so, was that even the right choice? The “Ant-Man” films have always felt a lot smaller in scale than the other MCU movies — literally and figuratively — but the stakes for Scott are now unusually high. If Kang returns to wreak havoc later (and looking at the MCU’s Phase 5 slate of films, he most certainly will) Scott’s going to have a lot of guilt on his conscious. Maybe Kang is to Scott what Ultron was to Tony; by realizing he’s made a mistake with Kang, this might take Scott’s character in a more serious, introspective direction.