I have every console Zelda and I still need to beat A Link to the Past and Zelda II. I'm already about half way through Link to the Past but I haven't really touched Zelda II. Although looking at the videos online I can't really see why its looked at so negatively. Sure its not like the other 2D Zelda's, but it still looks like a pretty good NES game
I am a little worried about Zelda for the Wii. Its already been said by Miyamoto that it was going to be a big change for the series. I have mixed feelings about this. I think they need to change it up a bit, every console have had basically the same controls. Any more and it will get stale. I'm just worried that Nintendo might screw the series up. I just don't want them to throw in some type of stupid gimmick using the Wiimote. The rumors of Link not having a sword haven't helped ease this fear.
Zelda II, people don't think of it as anything negative. It felt more like an action platformer than the first game. It was fun nonetheless with the sword play and jumping however, just look at the number of adventure titles that have similar mechanics? So, people don't necessarily look at it as anything negative just slightly not as "up there" as other titles, people had mixed opinions about majora's mask when it came out too but look how that turned out.
I'm kinda on the opposite of you about your second statement. first off, zelda is the epitome of innovation, there is change in every entry. zelda and zelda II, how it drastically went into 3D on the 64 with OoT. the time mechanic in MM, the cell shading of WW. the DS ports and stuff. besides its a 1st party dev, and how flawlessly (i think) they executed TP on the Wii what could go wrong right? (forget about spinoffs like links crossbow training) with massively hyped zelda titles nintendo rarely disappoints.
i'm thinking the reason behind the "no sword" concept on the new one is that...Link is left handed...it'll be awkward for most players to swing primarily with a left hand (that's why they mirrored the wii version). they must be building on that...