Gary Collinson reviews LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum…
2016 has been a rather solid year for LEGO’s Marvel Super Heroes line; we’ve had some excellent Captain America: Civil War tie-ins and Spider-Man sets (including Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-Up, which I absolutely loved), and now the folks at LEGO have one other treat for us with Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, which of course ties in with November’s hotly-anticipated Phase Three origin story starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme.
The set, which consists of 358 pieces and retails for $29.99 / £29.99, includes three exclusive minifigures for Doctor Strange, The Ancient One and Karl Mordo, all based upon their appearance in the upcoming film. Yes, LEGO fans can finally put Smaug to one side with the very first Benedict Cumberbatch minifigure, and it’s a pretty fantastic rendition of the Master of the Mystic Arts. There’s some incredible detail on both his torso and legs (in fact, the same can be said for all three minifigs here), including the Eye of Agamotto, and his Cloak of Levitation looks splendid, even if it’s a bit tricky to fold correctly. Throw in a couple of transparent printed dishes to simulate his magical abilities, and we’ve got a near-perfect Doctor Strange minifig on our hands.
Of the minfigures included in the set, The Ancient One is probably the weakest of the three, looking very little like what we’ve seen of Tilda Swinton’s character from the promotional material so far. There is however some nice design work on the legs and torso, while the back of the head also has some printing, although I’m not sure what that’s meant to represent. The Karl Mordo figure is a much more faithful rendition of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s appearance in the movie, and he comes with a black quarterstaff accessory, which he’ll no doubt use to battle Doctor Strange if and when he completes his heel turn and adopts the villainous Baron Mordo persona from the comic books.
Now we come on to the main part of the set, Doctor Strange’s magical Greenwich Village townhouse, the Sanctum Sanctorum. This build consists of three walls, and within these we have two major features: the large circular window, which makes use clever use of four silver sword pieces in its design; and a portal, which houses a monstrous, tentacled ‘portal beast’. Said creature has some gears built into the back which allows its tentacles to be rotated, pulling any trapped minifigure towards its razor-sharp teeth. It’s a nice addition, although it would have been nice if it could be removable for those who just want to display the set without it being invaded by a monster from another dimension.
There are a couple of additional play features in the build, with two transparent rods attached to the back wall which can be used to simulate levitation for the minifigures, while there’s also a ball piece that does the same for Doctor Strange’s cloak. Neither of these are particularly great, but the detail that has gone into the set decoration more than makes up for it. We’ve got a couple of wonderfully designed bookcases, and an assortment of mystical artifacts, books, maps and correspondence, not to mention a handy wifi password reminder. There are some great little touches here.
While hardcore Doctor Strange fans may be a little disappointed that we aren’t getting a larger Sanctum Sanctorum set, this an untested property compared to the likes of Captain America and Spider-Man. Instead, we’ve got a really nice little display piece at a reasonable price point, not to mention our first Benedict Cumberbatch LEGO minifigure! Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is another win for the Marvel Super Heroes line, and hopefully it won’t be the last we’ve seen of the Sorcerer Supreme in LEGO form.
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.