The art was hardly a "sacrifice" if the story and pacing are improved, which they were by far.
Yes and yes. What you are saying would be like saying that Tin Man
was only worth watching for the FX, or that they should have cut out a third of the dialog in exchange for more FX, which would be bull. Tin Man
was a well crafted story that would be nothing without the skill of the writer.
I find it astonishing that as a writer yourself, you would place more value on the visuals and the 'splosions more than the story.
Big Michael Bay fan, are you?