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Has the Transformers Series Dented Michael Bay’s Legacy?

A little over two months ago, I did a review of Transformers: The Last Knight which was said to be the final entry in the franchise under Michael Bay. Although it was a spectacle in terms of visuals, the plot was lacking as the movie was a mix of several ideas mashed together that came across, for the most part as an incomprehensible mess.

Movie director Michael Bay films an Airman on the set of the movie “Transformers” at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on May 30. Several Airmen filled roles as movie extras. The movie is scheduled for release in July 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry A. Simmons)

Be that as it may, the Transformers live action franchise is still a box office success so far. The directorial style known as ‘Bayhem’ (Bay + mayhem) proved to be a match for a movie series focusing on warring alien robot factions, and Film School Rejects stated that most people who flocked to the cinemas expected to see the Transformers in action – and that was what Bay delivered well.

Nonetheless, there was always going to be a portion of the audience that were loyal fans of the iconic robots, including myself, which always hoped that something more would come out of the new installments each time one was made. After all, the Transformers “during their heyday” were the coolest characters on the planet. There was never really any other robot series which has matched their appeal. The popular Japanese mech-genre animation Gundam, which is older, is the only title comparable to Transformers, but it hasn’t quite reached the same degree of mainstream success as the latter.

In fact, for some people, they remain admirable, perhaps even lovable, so much so that new Transformers toy lines are still considered collectors’ items and other projects completely unrelated to the movies still come out regularly. The animated series Transformers: Titans Return, for one, will serve as the TV comeback of the original voice Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen; while other licensed creations include the Transformers: Battle for Cybertron mobile slots game which follows its own Transformers-themed designs and plot. Such works draw in both longtime followers as well as new audiences into the ever-growing fanbase of the Hasbro characters.

The movies have been greatly helpful in this regard as well, and Michael Bay will probably be remembered best for his work on Transformers. But it’s just a part – albeit a big one at that – of his legacy and you can’t ignore the fact that he had other creations which are worth remembering such as Bad Boys and The Rock, which were received positively by both moviegoers and critics across the globe.

bumblebee transformers

And even without Michael Bay to direct, TV Over Mind explained how the film franchise would still continue to grow. There are at least fourteen more plot concepts in the hands of Paramount, including a spin-off about Bumblebee which is now in the works. Given the popularity of the character, it’s easy to project how it will fare at the box office.

It ultimately depends on a person’s definition of a great legacy. On one hand, there are the critics and die-hard Transformers fans who deem the franchise as lacking in substance which essentially tarnishes the filmmaker’s legacy. On the other, you can look through the eyes of Bay and imagine his measure of success – he’s primarily an entertainer through the big screen, and as long as audiences have a good time watching his films, then each one is essentially a job well done.