3. Sloppy Song Placement
Bumblebee is a film set in the '80s and boy, do they want to make sure you know that. Some of the '80s nostalgia is fun and endearing, like using nostalgic posters and memorabilia as set dressing for eagle-eyed viewers to pick out or even a specific moment that makes excellent use of Stan Bush's classic Transformers: The Movie song, The Touch.
However, the middle chunk of the film winds up relying on an '80s soundtrack a bit too much. Instead of being played naturally or with a score, key sequences unfold with '80s pop songs just haphazardly slapped on top of them and it actively detracts from what's actually happening on-screen. Rather than allowing the audience to live in the moment with Charlie, the film regularly pulls us out of the film with these jarring choices.
This also doesn't help the editing, which in turn feels sloppy and out-of-sorts in these scenes, as it becomes pretty apparent these moments weren't cut with these songs in mind at all. Some of the songs are used very well, especially when they're diegetic to the film itself, as in they're being listened to by Charlie or Bumblebee in the actual film.
But the nondiegetic ones become grating quickly, as the film resorts to this trick at least a dozen times. I'm sure they were going for Guardians of the Galaxy in their use of songs, but they wound up with something much more reminiscent of Suicide Squad.
2. The Villains' Time-Wasting Subplot
Voiced by the one-two punch of Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux, Shatter and Dropkick are the Decepticon villains in this film and they're actually pretty stellar antagonists. They play well off of each other and are easily the most reserved, nuanced, and compelling villains the Transformers films have ever had.
However, they get stuck with a time-wasting subplot in the second act of the film that does a whole lot of nothing for nobody. In searching for Bumblebee on Earth, they stumble upon an unlikely alliance and essentially just proceed to waste screentime until its time for them to actually do something again in the third act.
In the interest of avoiding spoilers, suffice it to say that their unlikely alliance stretches believability and also contains one of the most groan-inducing moments of the entire film. When these characters are actually allowed to do things, they are wonderful. It's just a shame that the script basically puts them on the backburner for half the film.