This is actually an interesting point. They may be a highly advanced and intelligent species, but the good guys can't seem to realise they're no better than the bad guys. This is interesting to me because it brings up the idea they may be an intelligent species, but being alien to us, their entire mindsets and way of thinking is vastly different than ours. In the 07 movie, Ironhide says "they're a violent and primitive species," and Optimus replies with "were we not the same?" implying that he and they all clearly know that they're savage warriors who kill just as much as their enemies do, but they simply don't see an issue with it. They're more different from us than we give them credit for. Like you said, any given character is simply a ruthless murder machine. Despite being apparently capable of vast intelligence, certain areas of their minds and culture are still distinctly primitive. Things like this and I realize the movies had so much amazing potential that was squandered. I feel like at any point throughout the first 3 movies, they could have backtracked and decided to actually put effort into what they had already churned out and create a deeply interesting story but that just never happened because "explosion go boom and make money"