Hating on Michael Bay’s work is a hardly new trend, but rarely is it more evident than when discussing the Transformers franchise. The explosion-loving director was at the helm of the first five films in the franchise – spin-off Bumblebee was directed by Travis Knight, and upcoming sequel Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will be directed by Stephen Caple, Jr. – and they make for far better viewing than they get credit for.
Despite being so often ridiculed for his action-heavy, unburdened-by-logic approach to his films, Bay (along with Transformers producer Steven Spielberg) actually managed to make a successful franchise out of what was originally a cartoon conceived as little more than an extended toy commercial.
The Transformers franchise might not be made up of the best sci-fi action films out there, but by using a core cast of humans alongside its giant CGI robot stars and making use of cutting-edge special effects, it manages to be consistently entertaining. Despite their box office success, the Transformers films certainly aren’t winning any popularity contests, instead being openly mocked by just about everyone.
Its stories are hardly groundbreaking, and its large-scale action sequences might seem a bit much at times, but the Transformers franchise is built upon the idea of the big-budget cinematic experience – and there, at least, it delivers in spades. It’s far from a perfect franchise, but it’s underrated mostly because it’s so widely and unfairly criticized by practically its entire audience.