My initial reaction is that the film was very enjoyable and will have a wide appeal. There were a few much under 13 year olds in the cinema and they were certainly engaged with the film. One little girl was hiding her eyes at the scarier parts, and honestly much of the film was actually closer to R than PG 13 as far as violence, language and body horror.
It was pretty fun and the interaction between Eddie and Venom worked the best. As far as the plot…
The story was generic and fit the formula for nearly every other superhero origin story good and bad. It probably was dictated by the studio and, maybe, it was the safest approach, but the inclusion of Riot could have been eliminated entirely to the story’s benefit.
Had it gone through another rewrite, it would have been better to leave Drake as the sole “benevolent megalomaniac” antagonist and pumped up the psychopathic optimist that he seemed to be. The idea of a man whose evil is driven primarily by a desire to save the human race is a pretty strong choice - akin to Thanos’ intention - but wasn’t really capitalized upon and when Riot shows up, it pretty much ended Drake’s character arc or at least seriously diminished it.
Instead, they had set up a couple of things that would have paid off well in the story. First, Drake had learned a lot about the symbioses’ and their weaknesses. I think it would have been stronger if they had shown him using those to trap Eddie and Venom and then forced Venom to separate and trust Eddie to find a way to rescue him without his powers (or his weaknesses).
However, they went with the generic conclusion where the hero fights a villain with similar but stronger powers than his, but that is not nearly as dramatic as it may have once been. But, again, it may just be that audiences expect it or at least studio head are certain that that is what audience’s want.
Also, Eddie makes a point early in the movie that he has learned how to hide, blend in and be invisible as an undercover reporter. At the end of the movie, Eddie is pretty much back in the same situation he was before meeting Venom with no consequences for anything he’s done - and he did a lot of damage to innocent people.
It seemed like they set it up for Eddie to disappear at the end - he could believable fake his death - and then be working undercover with an alias going after the “bad people.” He could have even dyed his hair blonde as a nod to the character in the comics.
The conclusion just seems too neat and easy - especially considering all the SWAT team members (who survived?) certainly saw his face AND I have to believe that they knew it was him or would have had people who could identify him. It just doesn’t make sense even in the world of the movie that he would be walking with any security in the open.