by Jeffrey

A polarising figure, Michael Bay is a legend in the realm of directors for turning out mega-hits like The Rock, Armageddon and Bad Boys. Most of today's moviegoers will recognise his name from the cinematic Transformers movie adaptions, which began in 2007, with the newly released 5th - Transformers: The Last Knight.

These movies have become a microcosm for what Bay is best known for: over-the-top explosions (often stemming from objects that, physically, are either impossible or unlikely to explode) and a series of fairly interchangeable objectified women whose characters couldn't pass the infamous Bechdel test with a cheat sheet.

A Firecracker in Cinematic Consciousness

Bay is no stranger to attention, and has been lambasted by the likes of and Epic Rap Battles of History, both of which called attention to his tendency to use over-the-top explosions and overly dramatic music for nearly everything, whether or not the scene really calls for it. A series of joking gif images made the rounds on the web in 2013 and 2014, adding unneeded explosions to actions such as eating a bowl of cereal, or doing laundry, each referencing Michael Bay's cinematic style.

A Problem with Racism

In 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, two problematic transformers caused some waves. "Skids" and "Mudflap" were, many argue, portrayed as jive-talking black stereotypes, complete with a shiny gold tooth and large ears. The voice actors later admitted to being embarrassed at the way the characters were animated, with both claiming ignorance of the addition of the gold tooth until post-production. All involved with the creation of the two characters put the blame squarely on Bay's shoulders, insisting that the most egregious parts of the character's stereotypes were solely at his insistence. 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction also included a Japanese-caricature robot that bows to Optimus Prime as his "Sensei" and uses a bow style that is distinctly Chinese, not Japanese.

A Problem with Misogyny 

Megan Fox's stiff acting and considerable physical assets are only the tip of the womanising iceberg for Bay's reputation. He routinely disparages his female stars, calling out Kate Winslet as being "...not so attractive" while heaping praise on her male co-stars, and forcing her to lose weight for a role that didn't remotely require it. When Megan Fox left the Transformers franchise, citing discomfort with Bay's lecherous filming style, he promptly replaced her with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Victoria's Secret runway model.

Bay, Huntington-Whiteley reports, all but hustled her into a car and drove out to the desert, making her do a "catwalk" repeatedly in 100-degree (Fahrenheitweather on salt flats, wearing nothing but lingerie to see "if she could walk."

Michael Bay the man seems to need a lot of education when it comes to political correctness, as well as racial and gender equality. His directorial side, however, has undeniably infused the Transformers franchise with plenty of interest and money, even from generations that grew up ignorant of the original cartoon. For that alone, he deserves a nod as a creative force - but here's hoping that his future successes will trigger a little personal reflection and some much-needed social improvement.

Bay is, however, considered a highly successful director where it counts: revenue. While he's unlikely to take the stage at the Academy Awards for his Transformers saga, they nonetheless blow up the box office with insane earnings. 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction raked in over 245 million domestically, and Transformers: The Last Knight is predicted to do just as well in sales. While he might not be palatable to some on a personal ethics level, he's a golden boy as far as Hollywood is concerned, and no one can argue that he hasn't brought Optimus Prime from 1980s obscurity to the forefront of social cinematic popularity.