Last July, director Michael Bay stepped forward to shoulder some of the blame for the critical drubbing dished out to his film 'Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.' The filmmaker told USA Today "I'll take some of the criticism. It was very hard to put [the sequel] together that quickly after the writers' strike." This was a fairly momentous occasion – even if Bay was using the writer's strike as an excuse.

Jump forward to Friday, and Empire Online managed to get the director to discuss the shortcomings of his sequel in more detail. Bay blasts 'Transformers 2' in the piece, calling it "crap," and going into more detail about how the writer's strike affected the production as a whole. Of course, he also finds time to tell everyone how much better 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' will be in comparison.

We hate to be cynical, but does anyone else get the feeling this is all an elaborately crafted piece of marketing to lure those disappointed with the second film back for a third go-round, this time in 3D and minus Megan Fox? It's always refreshing to see a filmmaker critique his own work in an honest way (particularly when they take the time to point out where they fell short of the mark), but something about Bay's self-analysis feels disingenuous to us.

Hit the jump and we'll tell you why.
It could be the fact that Bay is so willing to blame 'Transformers 2's' shortcomings solely on the writer's strike – which in turn feels like he's passing the buck to scribes Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. How else can one read a statement like this? "When I look back at it, that (the script's decision to move into a mystical world) was crap. The writers' strike was coming hard and fast. It was just terrible to do a movie where you've got to have a story in three weeks."

While a screenplay is one of the most important components of any feature film it's not as if Bay and company didn't realize a writer's strike was looming. Everyone was talking about it well in advance of it actually happening. So, when Bay says something like, "I was prepping a movie for months where I only had 14 pages of some idea of what the movie was. It's a BS way to make a movie, do you know what I'm saying?" we're not sure we buy it.

The snarky amongst us will no doubt say that 14 pages was probably more material than the standard Michael Bay film features. After all, how many pages do you need to write "explosion," "action scene involving giant f*cking robots overedited to the point of incoherency," "offensive racial stereotype robots" and "leering shot of Megan Fox?"

Regardless of the cause of the film's critical failing, it's sort of amusing to hear Bay even pay lip service to any of these issues given that the film made a boatload of cash. Michael Bay has never been a guy who seemed particularly concerned with the artistic side of filmmaking and is likely to have felt vindicated that the film was a success where it mattered most: the box office.

Because of that, we remain skeptical that Bay really feels all that terribly about how 'Revenge of the Fallen' turned out. Perhaps if he spoke solely about that film and his perception of where it missed the mark, we'd feel differently about it. Instead, every time Bay brings up 'Transformers 2' it's followed by sentiments about how he feels 'Dark of the Moon' needs to be – and is – better in every way.

Clearly, he's shilling for his new product. The most hilarious quote – and one that demonstrates just how self-aggrandizing Bay can be – revolves around his decision to shoot in 3D. Bay says the choice was inspired by James Cameron, who came to him and said "Mike, directors like you have to do 3D or it is going to die." There you have it – if you hate 3D, blame Michael Bay for keeping it alive. The real question is: Who will Michael Bay blame if 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' sucks? Our money says he won't even acknowledge it unless he signs on to direct 'Transformers 4' and can use it to sell that movie.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Based on 32 critics

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) holds the key to defeating an ancient Decepticon. Read More

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Based on 37 critics

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) once again joins the battle between Autobots and Decepticons. Read More