Bumblebee's Spin-Off; Look back and learn to hopefully make a good movie.
It is fair to say, I think, that this movie will not be up there with the best movies of the year when it is released. However, seeing as Bay and none of the previous Transformer movie lot are involved, there is a chance to ensure this movie is better than some of the recent Transformer movies.
Learn from the past
An underlying and continuing problem with the Transformers movies is that they are all the same; same forced comedic dialogue, unfunny forced characters, over use of product placement, stilted dialogue or stories that more or less make no sense, I'm looking at you 'Revenge of The Fallen'. Unfortunately, they never really seemed to learn from the past. Each movie in some way feels exactly the same as the previous, be it visually (which I never had a major problem with, at times the cinematography is actually quite good), style or set up, which largely is a result of the same director and same writers (up until The Last Knight) doing all the movies. Thus, for Bumblebee's spinoff, there is an all new, fresh set of people directing and writing it. If they want it to be a success or stand out from the previous Transformers movie, they need only look back at what was done previously, and avoid it.
What to avoid
To add some credibility here, I'll quote from one of my favourite YouTubers and movie related individuals currently working; Chris Stuckmann. He summarised the Transformers movies perfectly (I'll leave a link to his video below, he is a brilliant movie critic and reviewer) which highlights more and reinforce the issues that the spin off needs to avoid:
"A giant bloated extravaganza with a whole bunch of side characters and extra sub-plots that don't have to be there. Cringeworthy humour that thinks its hilarious when its really not, racial stereotypes...a very famous actor (in the Last Knight that was Anthony Hopkins, Dark of The Moon had Francis McDormand) a female character with a very specific bone structure and look (eye candy basically) and a hero, who's just a normal human but he does superhero stuff. And a bunch of military sub-plots."
What they should do...
A movie about a giant kick ass robot is not going to be incredible. Although there is the Iron Giant, but that is completely different to the universe that the Transformers occupy. On the face of it, it seems quite straight forward in what they need to do to ensure this spinoff is at least better than some of the Transformers movies. Firstly, keep it short and essential. No wasted characters who add nothing to the plot or story and keep the run time to a minimum, a complaint for the most recent Transformers movies is that they were too long, and I would agree; keep it short and sweet. Secondly, the writing. It will be nice to have some humour, yes. Just not scenes dedicated to an unfunny and useless character who's every other ling is supposed to make people laugh. Keep it light, and essential.
Thirdly, keep it focussed. Do not stray away onto subplots that have no real linkage with the main story and needlessly tie into the Transformers movies. This was something that the final Hobbit movie did a lot in the latter half of the final act, it felt un-needed, we know what happens afterwards. Fourthly, keep it restrained. No gigantic set pieces that have tong of CGI and forced dialogue, usually trying to be humorous; again, keep it focussed and essential. Seeing as the movie is going to be set in 1987 according to IMDb, hopefully that will force some restraint on the extravagance of the movie.
I think two words can sum up what those in charge and creating this movie need to do to ensure they do not fall into the trap of repetition and just creating another identical Transformers related movie; keep it focussed and essential. No excess plots, people, moments or tag on. No ridiculous set pieces or stilted dialogue scenes etc.
Although these may seem like obvious, some minor and some large scale elements that will be clear to some people, it is a foundation from which a new direction and approach can be taken for this spinoff. I am excited to see what they are able to do. I just hope, they do not fall into the trap of making a bloated and extravagant movie that looks and feels just like all the Transformers movies before it.