I follow Aviation Week magazine and various defense publications. I have followed a lot about the F-35. You learn more by reading the comments below the articles than from the article themselves.
The commenters are generally military, pilots, and aircraft maintainers. On the whole, the end users say the F-35 is dud. It only has a top speed of Mach 1.3. It's design makes it less maneuverable in air combat that the F-16 it will replace. In order to maintain its stealthy appearance on radar, it must carry internal weapons, which makes for a very small weapons-payload.
On the other hand, it has a very advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, and very advanced sensors. Part of this aircraft's problems have centered on making everything work properly, and this is where the cost over-runs have occurred.
I know the Marines love the F-35B, which has vertical landing capability, like the AV-8B Harrier II. The British are building a new aircraft carrier that will only be able to fly F-35Bs, since it is not being built with arresting gear, and the bow of the ship has a ski-jump for launching F-35Bs.
But, the F-35 ls a MIC boondoggle and likely should have been killed about 5 years ago. Way over original projected costs and way behind in projected performance and schedule.