This is much like saying it's easier to build a house on a foundation of worms than it is to build on solid concrete. Given a story, it's easier to continue an interesting narrative when the audience enters the story already invested in well-played characters in an interesting universe. Think about Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter V might not have been as well received as the original, but didn't it still benefit from the long legacy of the characters, the standing universe for all its wonder, the black ethos of Voldemort? Sure, it's hard to live up to that all the way, but it would be harder to create it from shit if the original books had been shit.
It is, indeed, harder to outdo the Godfather II than it is to outdo Transformers 2. By the same token, most blood-thirsty dictators probably aren't going to be quite as nasty as Stalin. I don't care how Transformers 3 compares to Transformers 2 because I don't pay for films to keep some mental checklist. I want to know whether I will enjoy the film.
You seem to follow the argument "well some things are changing, so it might not suck!" Fine, I can see optimism. There's always the possibility that the next movie in a given series will blow us away. But I don't operate so generously. Film makers want me to give up my time and my money to see their film, and as such, they need to prove to me that they're capable of making something I like.
I also acknowledge Nepenthe's point: there are a lot of people on this project aside from Bay, and many of the problems with the series prior to this are shared in their responsibility. After a little digging, I even found that T3 would recieve new writers. Fine. But still the question remains: Has anyone on this team with any power proven to us they can make a decent film?
I understand there are, in strange quarters, those peepz who like movies like Armageddon or Bad Boys and who respect Bay's films. Fine, maybe they'll like T3. There are even those who like T2. But I'm not talking about them; I'm offering my perspective, my tastes, my preferences, and those who don't share them will no doubt deal with it.
And given that standpoint, no, no one has given me any reason to think that this film will be worth my money. From my experience, those who've made shit repeatedly will continue to make shit, and any optimism to the contrary is misplaced.
Ok, let me rephrase for your semantics. Taking away that which sucks does not make a movie not suck because the absence of interesting material is itself the worst kind of suck.
(Can you sort of see why I didn't phrase it that way?)
It's this very optimistic assumption that the new actress will be better, that there are better characters to receive focus, or that a lack of humor will lead to mature themes that I don't share. I don't use negative evidence to suggest positive results. It's like saying "Well, dictator 1 is out of power in small country A, therefore things will be dandy!" In fact, there are usually systemic problems that lead dictator 2 to be just as good. Unless there's positive evidence to suggest improvement, the removal of the old regime usually won't yield improvement.
Mmmm. Well I suppose Nepenthe provides a good alternative opinion for this.
But from my perspective, none of this bothered me too much In Transformers 2. All of it was there, yeah, but it wasn't worse than, say, the original X-men insofar as it bothered me. What got to me was the absolute absence of any likable, realistic, or relatable characters. Who was I supposed to relate to? That truism-spouting stereotype Optimus Prime? Shia Lebeouf's twelve year old in the body of a college student? His IQ-30 parents? The shit-eating textbook-stereotype government bureaucrat bad guys? One of the ten-thousand other pointless extras? I tolerate a lot of shit from shitty movies. All I need is good characterization. So yes, for me, the destruction of the characters is the whole problem.
Granted, much of this isn't Bay's fault, but I'm not on a Bay vendetta. He is merely the most visible head of a team that's made two crappy movies, and although there have been changes to that team, they have given me no reason as of yet to believe they can take the wreckage of the Titanic and somehow make it float.
So Non. These characters are not compelling. And I refuse to believe they can be made compelling in T3 for the same reason I refuse to believe I'll win the lottery tomorrow. Probability based on prior results is the best mechanism for predicting the future, not blind hope.