I remember how polarizing these movies were [and still are], both within the tf fanbase[of which I'm a part of since TF: Armada] and cinema in general.
So what I'm about to say will probably make most of you try to hang me for treason: I think these movies actually do
have some meaning to them. Not just mindless action [the action is amazing, though], but actually pretty good things writing-wise.
In my opinion, the first movie already deserves credit for managing to make the concept even work
in live-action [talking transforming cars = ridiculous
for a live-action movie], the first movie takes itself seriously, it does a lot of work to explain that otherwise preposterous concept seriously: It explains why they turn into cars, why they can speak english, it spends a lot
of time showing Decepticons and Autobots as real war-machines in a War Is Hell
. Optimus spends half of his screen-time grieving the generations lost.
The entire concept could have easily
turned out stupid, and it didn't.
The second movie is a trainwreck, the only posivite points being some amusing characters and how it expands on the series' mythology.
Dark Of The Moon was a return to form in my opinion. Less in terms of concept exploring and more in terms of character. Sentinel was a very well-developed villain whose motivations were interesting. He wasn't a moustache twirling madman, but a man trying to save his world. Megatron had tragedy added to his character ["Cybertron, you are saved...at last."]. Optimus gets excellent dialogue with his former mentor.
These characters are well done, even with their reduced screen-time.
The movies have flaws: The humans are shallow and receives too much focus, the pace is everywhere, the humour is sometimes Toilet Humour
and second on onwards, the plot gets so complicated you have to re-watch to comprehend the plot.
BUT when the movie actually takes its time to focus on the cybertronians and their culture, it can have a surprising amount of depth. Not masterpieces of writing, but a entertaining amount of depth/exploration.
The review's title/my last point: "If you give it a chance". If you go 100% expecting a dumb Michael Bay flick, you will see them as such. If you judge them as normal movies and forget Michael Bay's reputation, you can see surprising amount of interesting things.