First, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I've actually been torn about seeing this movie since I heard some of the spoilers from IDW (the two major canon character deaths you mentioned) and, well, ROTF. It's great to have a FAN review, rather than some outsider--though those are valid, too--which goes into such depth.
I can say that Mudflap and Skids show up briefly in the movie adaptation comics (which I have been reading and are everything you complain about narrative-wise as well),and they are executed by Sentinel right after Ironhide.
I'm of course distressed to hear about my dorito's untimely demise. Then again, I'd more or less expected it the last two movies.
I can't say I"m surprised by the 'fanservice' upskirt of Carly, but then again, Bay's idea of what's appropriate for family viewing is a bit...off (testicle jokes, anyone?) As they said about him in the HOF video, he knows what the male audience wants to see.
Unfortunately, I am not male.
I'm most distressed, of course, that it's more about the people than the 'bots. I had this response to the comics as well--WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE (is there a throwaway racefail character named Wang in the film?) and why am I seeing so many of THEM and so few ROBOTS?!?! Again, as Bay himself said, he hated the franchise until he took it and changed it. He changed it mostly by making it NOT about the canon characters we love, but about these dippy humans.
ANYWAY, thanks for a great review. You haven't tipped the balance of whether I see it this week or not, but expectations? SUITABLY LOWERED.
HK, My eye candy is robots
Not all fangirls are evil. Just most of us.