I want to stress before I go on that this is not meant as critisism, it is not bashing Bay, its not saying he can't do what I've commented on. I love his movies, its just my thoughts on his movies and style going forwards and would like to hear what other people think.
I think Michael Bay is a good director. His movies are solidly made, the humour is good, there's a great energy to his movies, they move at a good pace, they're very visual with lots of camera moves, they've pretty stylish and his action sequences are just amazing and frankly, huge.
His whole style is a bit in your face from his editing to the sheer size of the action and not everyone can handle that or likes that. I personally dont have a problem with it, I like the intensity it can bring. The scripts whilst not always complex, do the job and usually results being insanely fun and highly entertaining
Discussing Bay and his movies with alot of people has got me thinking about his movies and watching them from Bad Boys through to Transformers, there has been a definite evolution in his action. It has become bigger and more elaborate, insane and generally OTT. But the stories don't seem to have progressed at the same rate. The Island is probably his most ambitious in terms of story complexity and showed another side of Bay, especially the first half where it seemed another director had shot it. He has taken on a variety of storylines and the trademark humour, camera shots and action are there.
In order to become a better director though, I feel he needs to spend more time on character development and setting up an action sequence so when it arrives, there's even more intensity to it. Alot of people have said that they didn't feel anything for the characters or cared for them. Whilst I disagree with this to a point, I can kind of see what they're saying. The script in Transformers did the job it needed to regarding character. There were some fun, quirky moments that endeared the characters to me so I was rooting for them at the end. But looking at this with a view going forwards, the scripts need to do more than just enough. He has shown in The Rock that he can take on interesting and fleshed out characters that still have that quirkyness about them. I feel he needs to take a few more beats setting up the action sequence. Little suspense can do an enormous amount.
I feel Bay can achieve this without having to sacrifice in terms of his action size, the humour, his general style. Take everything that has made him successful and just make some tweaks here and there. I feel Bay is capable of doing this if he can get the right script and story. He needs to ensure he doesn't go too far the other way though, go too serious as it can take away all the fun of his movies which has been one of my arguments whilst discussing Transformers. Part of that movies appeal to me is the fact it was extremely fun. Altering parts to make it more serious by definition removes some of the fun. Its a fine balance but one I think Bay needs to start doing if he is to become a great director. Bay has said in interviews he has a project in mind that he would like to do thats very different to anything he has done.
If he continues to make the movies in the style that he is, I wont be complaining from an enjoyment angle but whilst Bay wont go down in my estimation, I don't think he can improve as a director.