One of the prevailing narratives during the production of Justice League and after the film's release has been the digital removal of Henry Cavill's mustache. The actor famously could not shave the mustache he grew for Mission: Impossible - Fallout so when the extensive Joss Whedon reshoots for Justice League took place, the facial hair needed to be remove digitally. When Justice League finally hit theaters last November (ironically, being No-Shave November and all) the results were... unconvincing. The shave job left many fans wondering how such an expensive movie could produce such results. So now a fan has taken it upon themselves to show how to get rid of that pesky flavor savor. Take a look.
So, this video by Deep Fakes is attempting to show that with the right computer know-how, it is relatively easy to digitally remove Henry Cavill's mustache. The video emphasizes what can be achieved with a $500 computer and what the $300 million Justice League produced. If you pay attention throughout the video it is clear that some sort of digital manipulation is going on and I don't consider any of the examples to look good or convincing if you focus on Henry Cavill's mouth. The digital shaves in this video are far from perfect but they are convincing enough for a YouTube video. When the clips of Superman are compared side-to-side I still think the Justice League one looks better, but the point is well taken that the disparity in quality is not commensurate with the disparity in time and money put in to achieving the digital shave. Still, the reality is obviously far more complicated than this video makes it out to be.
I am no VFX artist but I have to imagine removing Henry Cavill's mustache for a compressed, finished, 720p YouTube video is a heck of a lot different than rendering such an effect for a 4K cinematic exhibition. Making the effect convincing on a large theater screen is an entirely different animal. Not to mention that this video was not working with the same source footage that the film was. I sincerely doubt that there wasn't a large team of people working on this with powerful equipment and lots of money being spent. But ultimately, the end result was unconvincing and that means that the amount of time or money spent on removing the mustache is somewhat irrelevant because the desired effect was not wholly achieved.
Ultimately, Superman's unnatural-looking mouth in Justice League was not the result of any one thing. It was a consequence of many variables: a release date to meet, tons of reshoots to completely rework the movie, Paramount being unwilling to play ball, Warner Bros. not wanting to delay the film, etc. I imagine WB did everything it could to deliver a Justice League that lived up to fan expectations and in this one aspect the film fell short. As long as the folks at the studio and DC learn from this, when the inevitable book is written chronicling the story of the DC film universe, Mustachegate will be merely a footnote and not a defining chapter.