And it was fun.
Dumb as nuts, loud as hell and not a film you need to think about, sure, but it delivered what the fans wanted - robots hitting each other. A lot.
And then Bay decided what a Transformers film needed was plot.
He was wrong, and we all had to endure Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. A film so bad it has taken people years to have the courage to actually take the piss out of it.
In fact, Revenge was so bad I still haven't seen the follow-up, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon.
I know I should, but after Revenge I really can't face it.
But after Transformers: Age Of Extinction I might just summon up the courage.
That's not to say Extinction is good - it's not. Far from it. But at least Bay's stopped trying make A Film and has just gone back to car chases, explosions and lots of robot-on-robot violence.
Because that's all we want.
And that's all we get. For nigh-on three bloody hours.
And that's where the problems begin.
There is a plot of sorts - father-daughter relationship set against the backdrop of government chicanery and scientists trying to make their own Transformers - but really it's not important.
Mark Wharlberg is strangely convincing as down-at-heel inventor Cade Yeager (it helps to not think about him as an inventor) while Nicola Peltzer manages to be daughter Tessa without being the complete object of lust Bay is known for.
Elsewhere, Kelsey Grammar (sinister branch of The Man) and Stanley Tucci (well meaning billionaire inventor sort) both steal every scene they're in without breaking sweat, while Brit comedic actor James Bachman livens things up, even if you are left wondering how he ended up in this mess.
Among the myriad of issues we have, in no particular order, bad accents, terrible dialogue, woeful continuity, the running time, the 3D elements, the running time, the script and the fact it's too long.
Oh, and geography.
And it's not that these things are small and I'm being picky - they leap out at you.
There's the moment Whalberg does his 'shocked' face, there's the fact they're supposed to be going to China yet it turns out they were in Hong Kong, the moment they all get in a truck to escape (seemingly forgetting the four Autobots nearby), Sophie Myle's moment in the sun as she tells Tucci she's proud of him (honestly, I laughed out loud at this one) - I could go on, but I can only remember the final 40mins (the rest having been wiped from my mind).
Oh yes, and there's the moment Peltzer is trying to escape along a high-wire cable thingie. She's supposed to be being chased buy Transformerdogs, only they vanish. Then come back...
There are positives here.
As I've already said, some fine performances and it's better than the Fallen. And the female characters actually get to wear almost-decent clothes.
But it really is just a big dumb mess.
As ever with Bay there are moments of attempted gravitas and weight, but it's all cobblers.
Underneath all the boom and bombast, there's sod all. It's a loud, shallow mess.
Which for some reason I'm still struggling to understand, I didn't hate...
Oh yes, that was the other thing - transformium.