There are three levels of response to Beowulf: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let's start with the ugly, shall we?
Once upon a time, there were only two responses to Beowulf: bitter hatred and ecstatic enthusiasm. The bitter hatred group aligned themselves with – wait for it – Woody Allen. His character in Annie Hall sympathetically advises Diane Keaton "Just don't take any course where you have to read Beowulf." And just like that, disgruntled students who thought of the poem as scholastic waterboarding had a voice. It didn't exactly help that those who enthusiastically supported the poem as a masterpiece of English literature were either locked in an Ivy Tower or were avid role players at Renaissance Faires. Unless you never wanted a date, you kept your Beowulf love to yourself or proclaimed loudly how lame it was.