I'm a web based .net developer so I have to say the technologies are much better now, but the commercialism has definitely stifled, and may yet kill off, the freedoms antimony and creativity of the earlier web.
It's more about the money now, and less about the 'Wow, look at this!!!'
A lot of people are saying the 'content' is better. What content is this exactly? The 'packaging' is fancier, there is much more 'filler' but for 'content'... the early web was full of it in easy to load simple pages...
You should see the junk code behind many modern web-sites nowadays! For me it's now all mostly 'filler' with no 'killer'.
Web 1 was all about being slick and simple in order to get the information out as easily and quickly as possible.
Web 2, and up, seem to be all about fancy graphics and junk!