Brow Beat

Michael Bay Gets a Rightfully Bad Rap—but Here’s Why His Movies Deserve Your Respect

Remember the monstrous pair of dangling Decepticon balls in Transformers 2? That shot kind of sums up director Michael Bay’s style: huge, loud, and crass. His repertoire includes Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesArmageddon, Bad Boys, and every movie in the regrettable Transformers series. As Bay himself puts it, “I make movies for teenage boys. Oh dear, what a crime.” 

Actors in his films use the word “Bayhem” to describe the crazy shots, stunts, and general atmosphere on set. (Bay’s famously explosive temperament might have something to do with it, too.) But a new video from Cinefix argues that Michael Bay is an innovative genius who deserves our respect—and even one of the greatest directors of our time. Why? Because he does things his way even though he knows people won’t like it, he eschews storyboards in favor of designing every shot piecemeal himself, he launches careers, he goes to war for his projects, and he’s a shamelessly copycatted innovator.

It’s notable that Cinefix conveniently skirts the racism and sexism in Bay’s work: His slow-mo pans of his leading actress’ disembodied legs, torsos, and chests in the Transformers movies are always cringe-inducing, and the two “racist jive-talking” Autobot twins in Transformers 2 rightfully raised many eyebrows—and that’s just scratching the surface. But this video is a reminder that we do have Bay to thank, for better or worse, for the style and energy of pretty much every action sequence for the past decade.