I think some people go a bit too far saying it's a misunderstood masterpiece but I definitely think it's a damn good movie. Better than 89? Well...I think it's about on par, it kind of depends on your mood.
And I actually liked the approach they went with with The Penguin. Way different and it worked for the movie that it was. And for the longest time I thought the 'classic' penguin as the short mobster dude just wouldn't work in a movie anyway, that is until I played Arkham City. As a reference prior to that I had Burgess Meredith from the 60s show and the Penguin from TAS, so I wasn't hugely enamored with the character. But playing Arkham City made me realize what a badass motherfucker he could be and at that point I completely understood why many fans have been recommending/hoping for Bob Hoskins to play him, and I guess that is as close as we're going to get. It would be interesting to see a movie with a more faithful Penguin adaptation and something more similar to Arkham City. That said, I loved how Burton went about the character and I loved Danny Devito's portrayal.
Leagues ahead of Batman and Robin. I mean I really hope that was just an exaggeration.