Thank the filmmakers not everyone out there is Halle Berry.

Berry, who won the 2001 Best Actress Academy Award, immediately grew too big for her own britches, and as a result may have seriously damaged the X-Men franchise. With each subsequent movie she’s required more screen time, whether it’s actually on screen in the movie, or on screen behind the scenes talking about the movie. Last year her reported involvement in the upcoming X-Men 3 caused lots of concern for the direction the franchise is going.

Thankfully, Eric Bana, who is currently gaining acclaim for his performance in Steven Spielberg’s Munich is not going the same route. Instead, he’s announced he’s removing himself completely from the pending (but hopefully never coming) Hulk 2. Smart move Bana.

Now before anyone decides I’m a Hulk hater, let’s be fair. Whether you liked the 2003 film or not is irrelevant, since Marvel’s Avi Arad recently announced the sequel would be “Hulk-lite”. “It’ll be the end of movie one, the beginning of movie two. Now he’s come to terms with his life and who he is and we can let him be now Hulk the hero. Movie one seemed to have been tough on some people, but some of us think it is one of the more courageous depictions of a comic book character.” In other words, the first movie made people think too much, and we’d rather just have two hours of “Hulk Smash!” As disinterested as I was in the first film, this seems to be even worse. Hulk has always been a character about psychological conflict and by removing that Arad might be placing another nail in the Hulk-movie coffin.

Not that it matters. According to Moviehole while Arad is still planning a sequel, Bana isn’t planning to be a part of it. In fact, Bana told NYNewsday.com that nobody was talking about a sequel, period. With a change of direction for the story, it’s unlikely that Ang Lee will return either, which reinforces Moviehole’s claims that the sequel could very likely be either direct-to-video or an animated DVD release. To me, either of those ideas should only be met with one action: Hulk smash!

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