In case you missed it, four new Transformers sequels have been announced, to which the whole world collectively went "well, duh" in extremely resigned voices. But while I can't say I'm personally looking forward to them, it must be said that there is, in fact, great potential in the Transformers. There is after all, a very good reason that it's one of the most beloved children's cartoons ever to grace our screens. So, for the purpose of optimism, my own enjoyment, and just in case Hasbro happens to read this, let's go through some ways to make the Transformers movies good.
1) Get a new director
Look, even if Hasbro does read this, they probably won't care, because if they've ever looked at their profit charts then they would most likely say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, even though they make inexplicable amounts of money, the four existing films are most definitely broken, and a lot of its issues stem from Michael Bay. Don't get me wrong, he's a talented director (Bad Boys II showed that) but when it comes to Transformers, he seems obsessed with doing the same things over and over again as well as focusing on stupid, irritating and completely unengaging humans. What about getting someone like Guillermo Del Toro or James Cameron to create a new and infinitely more interesting adaptation of the mythology? It's not like they could do anything much worse.
2) Focus on the actual Transformers
Look, I don't care about whoever-Shia-La-Beouf-was-playing's love life, or about whatever whoever-Mark-Wahlberg-was-playing did in Age of Extinction. Do you know what I do care about? A planetary civil war on a planet populated by giant robot people who ended up on Earth because said planet blew up somehow. So tell a story about the bloody Transformers! They have actual personality and feelings and do awesome and interesting things, so stop limiting to the backstory of a film focusing on some boring human person and the American flag. There are just so many stories and characters available to focus on when it comes to the Transfomers. Off the top of my head, you could make a film about the Decepticons trying to kill all the Autobots and them having to stop them. Hey, it worked in the cartoon, and it could work in a film if they give the Decepticons more than five seconds of screen time as well as a fun Autobot to lend us a perspective.
3) Leave Earth
This planet is a boring one full of taxes, tedious jobs and annoying people. So if you're going to make an epic sci-fi film about things that can change into any piece of technology, why would you limit it to rubbish old Earth? Go to space, or back to Cybertron. Hell, just dump them on Mars and let them all duke it out for ownership of Earth. When the Autobots and Decepticons fight, I'd like to see what's happening past all of the grey-brown buildings and rubble that they blend into seamlessly. But if they all punch and shoot each other in the vacuum of space or on some uninhabited planet, then I'd appreciate the beauty of Optimus Prime slamming Megatron's face into a mountain.
4) Put effort into the villains
Seriously, this is one of my biggest problems with the franchise. None of the bad guys of the four previous instalments have been even remotely interesting. Megatron's dictionary consists of his own name about a thousand times and the book of villain clichés. That Fallen guy in the second "film" was equally boring and just liked to rant about vengeance, a point that the title got across better than he did. Then... you know what? I don't remember who the antagonists of the third and fourth films were and I'm not willing to go back and watch them. The point is, the cartoon and comic series' had a variety of colourful and fun to watch bad guys. No, they never made me question society or the world I live in, but I always had fun seeing them threaten to punch each other. If the movies could capture even half of that spirit of the show then it would elevate it infinitely.
Look, none of this will ever probably come to fruition. These movies make money the way they are and so Hasbro isn't going to change the formula. But isn't it nice to even dream of a world where we have great Transformers films that honour our childhood fantasies as well as updating them for our more mature minds? So let's hold onto hope and enjoy your lives.