Personally, I thought the movie was sub-par - it seemed to me that somebody REALLY needed to keep Michael Bay in check when it came to editing (as MANY directors need a guiding hand in this aspect; I mean this as no slam on Michael Bay - it often just comes from being "too close to the project"). However, I felt that he was probably ENCOURAGED to keep the ridiculous length of the film, as the American movie-going public seems to have equated "3 hours" with "epic" as of late. The timing was hideous, in my opinion - I mean, the attack on Pearl Harbor itself doesn't occur until an HOUR AND A HALF into the movie! Do we really need 90 minutes of backstory?!? And then the last 45 minutes of the film, which dealt entirely with America's retalitory counterstrike, seemed tacked on to the end of the film, just so it could end on a positive note for the U.S. (Michael Bay is notorious for overbearing patriotism). Don't get me wrong - I think that the story of the counterstrike is extremely interesting, and worthy of a film in and of itself (and HAS been made as a film in and of itself - see "30 Seconds Over Tokyo"). It was just completely out of place with the movie. By the time the attack on Pearl Harbor was over, every thread in the film had been tied up with the exception of the love story, which could have been resolved here, I suspect.
I like some of Michael Bay's work, myself - "Armaggeddon" is a great popcorn flick, and I really enjoy it for what it is. I just don't think that "Pearl Harbor" was as good as "Armaggeddon" - or "The Rock", for that matter (although I would definately rank it above the painful-to-watch "Bad Boys").