It's just dawned on me that it's been well over a decade since the first movie. Ain't that something.
And, as much as I am aware that neither of my two favourite continuities (Prime and Animated, they tie for me, honestly) would have been possible without the Bayverse... did they have to suck so hard? It's a dead horse, I get it, but if you call "bay-isms" bad writing, bad characters, and a team that barely knew or cared about what it was working on? I suppose the first one had that?
Sam is... there are many words one could use to describe Sam, none of which I'm allowed to use here. Bumblebee is barely a character, and especially later on it seems like they keep up the voice quirk just because they can't be bothered to write one for him. So there's our important human-robot bond in the dirt. Optimus Prime - inspirational? I guess? He was basically just a plank of wood that they used for expository speeches in this one (and a psycho in the rest of them). He displayed some measure of care for the humans, but most of what we see of them in the film is messing with Sector 7 and accidentally causing collateral damage so that doesn't amount to much. Ironhide - triggerhappy annoyance, Jazz - stereotype, Ratchet - I remember one line, and it was a bad joke.
The Decepticons get very little dialogue beyond "A'M EVUL" (or just unintelligible screeching) so there's that. Then the other human characters are either generic, or annoying, or a stereotype, or some mix of the previous.
The military is established as being capable of taking down the Decepticons on their own with heat rounds, especially with the small number seen in this film - thereby invalidating the existence of the Autobots. And it's bizarre: despite their reputation, the runtime of most of these films is really just filled up with tedious nonsense and unfunny gags rather than robots punching each-other like it says on the tin. Like let's actually break this down:
Start of the film, fairly big scene: Blackout wrecks the crap out of the base. Okay, fair enough. Then we're on tedious scenes with Sam for a bit, cutting back to that girl I can't be bothered to remember the name of finding out what the heck happened there, and the military guys screwing around in the desert every now and then. They fight Scorponok. Eh.
Then we get our first actual robot on robot fight... except not really because most of the scene focuses on Frenzy tearing Sam's pants off (great work guys). Then we get another lull for a bit as the other Autobots finally show up. We screw around with them some more, Sector 7 captures Bumblebee and tries to make us feel sorry for him by making him sound like a dying whale. And then finally, finally we get our big action bit at the end that goes on for quite a bit. Bonecrusher tussles with Optimus on a highway, we have mission city - Optimus fights Megatron, "Devastator" is there, all good fun.
And it's like... none of the inbetween stuff was even all that good. The score did half of the work, honestly. It's just... sure, it introduced the wider public to Transformers again, but... at what cost? The bayverse is low-hanging joke fruit in the public eye.
Maybe I'm just a cynic, I dunno.