When Tim Burton's Batman came out, I dragged my wife to the theater to see it. I would later figure out that it might be best to not make her see the movies that I am frothing at the mouth for when I know she has no interest in them. I didn't love the movie. There were a lot of things I liked about it, a bunch of things that could have been done better, and a few things that were just stupid in my opinion. That didn't stop me from seeing each Batman movie as they were released. I love Batman, and however progressively more awful each movie was, there was still some joy to be had if you are a fan (although some of them might be better if you don't know the source material).
Unlike a lot of people, I thought the movie was pretty much ruined by it's Joker. I thought the movie focused WAY too much on Nicholson. I thought his performance was OK, but I didn't like most of the things about the way the character was written and portrayed. I thought it suffered a bit from Burton's excesses, but I liked the look and feel of things just fine. Michael Keaton made a fine batman, but didn't hit the Bruce Wayne notes. I thought Keaton was great as a rich playboy with a secret double life as Gotham's Dark Knight Detective... but he didn't seem very Bruce Wayney to me. He was perhaps too squirrely to seem like Bruce Wayne for me. I also didn't like the inclusion of the man who would be Joker in Batman's origin story.
All of that said... My daughters have never seen any of the old Batman movies as far as I know. We have watched the new ones in the theaters, and they have loved them, just as I have. I decided recently that They should probably have a sense of what went on before, so I added Batman to my Netflix Queue and we watched it together last night.
They loved it. They had no issues with it, and enjoyed it without the burden of having grown up reading tons of batman. They have both watched cartoons with the character their entire lives, but I think that may allow a greater tolerance for other takes on the character, than when you have old comics canon ingrained in you. Talking to my 14 year old, she says there is no question that Ledger's Joker is way better than Nicholson's, and that the new movies are better than the old one, but none of that kept her from enjoying the film.
I have to say that I enjoyed the movie way more this time than I did previously. There are aspects still that i think are stupid, but they don't ruin the movie for me, and there is a lot that is done just right. I like dark and deco Gotham. I like Joker in the style of Cesar Romero, I think it can work. I like Heath Ledger's Joker for what it is, and his performance was better without seeming as omnipresent as Nicholson's. My new opinion on this movie is that it isn't nearly as bad as I recall. I had no problem enjoying it this time. I will probably go through all of the old movies with my girls. I have no doubt that they will enjoy them on at least some level.