The Autobots being targeted by humans makes a little more sense when one remembers that the one who opened the Space Bridge and allowed the Decepticon invasion in the last film was Sentinel, who had claimed leadership of the Autobots to the United Nations. Somewhat reinforced by the Transformers Are Dangerous site, which says that the Battle of Chicago convinced humanity to distrust all Cybertronians.
And, ostensibly, there was supposed to be protection for the Autobots that were on Earth prior to the Battle for Chicago. When Sentinel Prime betrayed them after Optimus vouched for him, people decided they could no longer trust Optimus' judgement.
In the second movie, when the Obstructive Bureaucrat demands the autobots show the humans how to make some Cybertronian tech, Optimus points out that the humans would probably destroy themselves if he did that. Guess what nearly happens when the humans actually start making some of their own during this movie? Even better, Optimus feared humans would use Cybertronian tech for war. KSI was indeed using Transformium to build military bots, which made them great soldiers for Galvatron's new army...
If Lockdown is anything like his Animated counterpart, the Cybertronians he kills or captures he breaks down for "trophies" for his own use. Not So Differentfrom Cade attempting to strip Optimus for parts. With that in mind, Lockdown's ship can be seen as a nightmarish version of Cade's workshop, being inhabited by all sorts of mechanical monstrosities. And Lockdown's cyborg wolves are just a much more advanced version of Cade's robotic guard dog.
Lockdown turns into a Lamborghini Diablo. Diablo means "Devil" in Spanish.
KSI's Transformers rise up against their creators under Galvatron's leadership; this is, of course, a typical Turned Against Their Masters plot, which is appropriate if the Creators of the Cybertronians are indeed the Quintessons. It's not just a cliche plot, it's a Meaningful Echo of what the Cybertronians did to their masters eons ago!
KSI's Transformers also shapeshift more than transform; this would appear to indicate that, unlike actual Cybertronians, the KSI drones don't have a Protoform.
The fact that the human-made Transformers turn into a cloud of transformium to change between modes instead of transforming seems like a way to save on budget, but it also makes sense— humans logically wouldn't be able to replicate the ridiculously complex transformation schemes of Cybertronians in this continuity.
Turning into a cloud also gives the human-made Transformers a great deal of versatility in combat if they can change into just about anything, as well as using it to dodge attacks, which is sadly something they hardly end up doing in the movie. This makes sense, as the humans are not only trying to replicate Transformers themselves but surpass them.
It makes sense that they did not use their powers to dodge attacks and/or transform into anything, as they do not have much experience with their method of transformation. Also, a Transformer would probably be somewhat vulnerable while transforming, even more so when their body is in pieces while they are doing it. See also the entry on Fridge Horror below.
Of the four live-action Transformers movies, this is the only one to begin without opening narration from Optimus Prime. But considering the state he was in at the beginning of the movie, do you think that Prime would be able, or even willing to give such a narration?
Optimus and humanity:
Some people have criticized Optimus's rage at the humans in this film. But remembering that the war that destroyed Cybertron was because of the collective treachery of The Fallen, Megatron, and Sentinel Prime, and it's pretty clear that Optimus was just getting fed up with people turning on him.
Even better, Megatron and Sentinel Prime believed that humanity was not worthy of protection or life, based in part on how humans have viewed Cybertronians. Imagine what being hunted down must have felt like after Optimus had tried to oppose this? From an outside perspective, it almost seems as if his enemies were right about humanity.
Oh, even better: remember that Megatron and the Fallen were after Energon to save their race, and Sentinel wanted the same thing. Optimus was betrayed by people he saved, by jeopardizing his own race's future,no fewer than three times, AND THE PEOPLE HE PROTECTED JUST CAUSED THE GENOCIDE HIS ENEMIES WERE TRYING TO PREVENT.
This film introduces the pretty big plot point of Cybertronians actually being created by another race for whatever purposes, with Lockdown explicitly mocking Optimus for believing he was born instead of built. Of course, prior in the series, there has been an abundant amount of evidence that Cybertronians developed naturally on their own after initially being created via the AllSpark, even with a mention that you HAVE to be born a Prime in this universe, and has even shown Hatchlings, apparently the earliest stages of a Transformers life cycle, though the fact they send Lockdown to hunt Optimus Prime specifically does indeed imply The Creators have encountered the Cybertronian race before. Notably though, in almost every continuity since, Cybertronians being purposefully created by an outside race (specifically the Quintessons) has been retconned, with the Transformers Aligned Universe revealing that the Quintessons merely enslaved the Cybertronians after they had already been created, and falsely claimed that they built them, whilst modifying them for their own slave purposes. This opens certain possibilities. One, however, being that in light of the previous films and the Retcon mentioned, The Creators were quite possibly LYING about being the originators of the Cybertronian race, and are trying to stake a claim to something they left behind in their kind for their own purposes.
The creators of the Cybertronians demanding that their creations return to them is likely viewed by them as no more than a product recall. From their perspective, the product is so defective that they literally nearly all killed each other, and destroyed the world that was built for them to inhabit, and now they're busting up other planets. Might as well haul them all back in to be scrapped and start again. This ties in well with the Order Versus Chaos speech Lockdown gives in the film; the Creators are possibly appalled that the Cybertronians have caused too much unwarranted destruction throughout the universe.
In hindsight, some of the limitations of the Cybertronians seem like safety features installed by their creators. Why don't the Cybertronians have voluntary shapeshifting like the Vehicons, even though their creators had access to Transformium? Because they wanted to limit them in case they Turned Against Their Masters. Why do Cybertronians need the AllSpark to reproduce? To prevent a Cybertronian Grey Goo scenario.
Bumblebee's broken voice. It's still not perfect. But then again, he's young, still using early-20s voice clips, and still maturing, and what do kids' voices do as they mature? They break.
A lot of people have complained about how the redesigns don't give hints to their vehicle modes, but THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT. They're in hiding and trying to avoid the mercs hunting them. This way if a bot manages to escape Cemetery Wind, they still won't know what alt-mode the transformer has. It's robots in disguise, just from the other direction.
A lot of people raised eyebrows when the Dinobots suddenly decide to aid the Autobots after Optimus ruffed up Grimlock a little bit, considering they couldn't care less a few seconds ago. Then you realize that the Dinobots are based off of prehistoric animals with Grimlock specifically being a Tyrannosaurus Rex, literally a terrible lizard king. Optimus just beat the Alpha of the Dinobots and took his place!
Joshuas breaking speech to Optimus Prime (We can make you now, we dont need you any more) is harsh, but not really unfair. In the aftermath of an alien war that had been brought down by a heros betrayal it makes sense for humanity to arrange something that can defend themselves.
Note that he wasn't vindictive or mean-spirited as Optimus had expected, rather blunt and practical. As disgusted as Optimus had been, he could see the truth in what Joshua said.
And its also in line with the fictional trend that most societies view superpowered beings (heroic or villainous, human or alien) as ultimately harmful and detrimental, and would rather cast them out rather than deal with their issues. This was also something Optimus may have recognized.
Joshua is more concerned about his drone army being flawed than Attinger. This represents a difference in business:
Joshua wants his product to be perfect and bug-free, so that his clients get the best satisfaction from their products. Then he only has to make a new improved model, and only if he genuinely believes it is time for a newer better product.
Attinger doesnt care if the drones are bugged. While he doesnt care about customer satisfaction, it works as another business practice: some companies have their products deliberately flawed so that they can make an additional profit from customers through hiring out repairs.
Harold Attinger would have had Lockdown melted down for scrap if not for two things:
he was a bounty hunter just passing through. He was on nobodys side and just wanted something that he could get easily without any serious trouble.
Lockdown had boasted of his master being more powerful than he could comprehend. No need to risk that level of attention from space by detaining or manhandling Lockdown, rather just help him out as much as possible.
Lockdowns face is very skeletal. He may have some Transformium in his makeup, as in his body is an exoskeleton covered in liquid metal.
His transformations in the film, where his body flows into arms/legs, gives credence to this concept.
Galvatron was formed from the Decepticons killed in the third film. He thus displays/uses their traits: Megatron (evil leader), Sentinel Prime and Starscream (treachery), and Soundwave (hacking quality).
Joshua and Attinger represent the future and the past, respectively.
As a futurist, Joshua believes in moving on, in progress and making the world better. Thus he is ultimately able to manage friendship with the Autobots.
In contrast, Attinger wants all Transformers/aliens gone so that things can go back to the way they were, when he was in charge and there were no aliens on Earth. Ultimately, he revives the past by bringing back Megatron and ends up being consumed by his own deeds.
Once Optimus gets his new sword, his rifle is adapted into a shield that can be mounted on his back, among several upgrades. The shield in particular was likely done subconsciously given that Megatron killed him from behind in ROTF, barely survived DOTM, and was sniped by Lockdown earlier.
Giant goddamned metal dinosaurs. Roaming free in the wilderness of China.
We see two instances of Transformium giving innocent items the ability to convert into guns. There are so many ways that can be abused...
We see Attinger and his Cemetery Wind lackeys are more than willing to kill civilians to get what they want (Optimus and the other Autobots), and none of the Autobots' previous human allies (a good number civilians, themselves) are ever seen or even mentioned. Think about that.
Galvatron and his band of transformers. Their method of transformation would give them great versatility. While they did not have time to fully understand the ramifications of their powers, now that they retreated, they can test their powers, and figure out how to be an even greater threat to the Autobots.
The organic humanoid being imprisoned in Lockdown's ship. The one that tried to grab Tessa with its tongue. The poor being was probably trying to get help escaping, but she freaked and left him there to rot.
The state that Optimus is in at the start of the film. The first movie established that nothing short of the highest grade explosive rounds (Sabot rounds capable of melting tank armour being the preferred choice) will even put a dent in a Cybertronian's hide, and that otherwise their natural healing abilities would take care of the rest. Now, even taking into account that Lockdown was helping Cemetery Wind, Cade discovers the leftovers of what was clearly a human assault. What kind of ambush must Optimus have walked into that it caused him to put himself into stasis lock, and his injuries are still present all that time later?
Dark of the Moon established that NEST placed Energon Detectors all over the world to track down Decepticons; it's not hard to imagine that Cemetery Wind used these or similar devices to hunt down the Autobots in the years leading up to Age of Extinction.
Ratchet's fate is absolutely horrifying when you consider how hideous it must be to Cybertronians. Imagine all of that being done to a person you know. Imagine learning that your friends are being melted down... And their corpses are being used as raw material for a new army.