Crossing the Multiverse into LEGO's Modular line, the Sanctum Sanctorum adds its own magic to the lineup!
LEGO 76218 - Sanctum Sanctorum
Available from LEGO.com and LEGO Stores from 1st August.
About This Set
For die-hard Doctor Strange and Marvel fans, the Sanctum Sanctorum is the most iconic of iconic buildings within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This particular building was in Doctor Strange, Thor Ragnarok, Spiderman: No Way Home, Avengers: Infinity War and Doctor Strange 2, making it probably the most consistent building within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This isn't LEGO's first stab at the building, having previously been made a semi-modular build for the release of Avengers: Infinity War, but you have to ask if this is a Sanctum Sanctorum to end all Sanctum Sanctorums? Let's read on!
The Sanctum Sanctorum arrives on scene as one of the taller modular-styled buildings within LEGO's recent repertoire, comprised of three different floors all containing quite the slew of references to different films.
One thing I was quite surprised by was LEGO making the build a 2/3 deep building, and not having it use the entirety of the base. I first thought this was a massive oversight, but for reasons I'll explain later, this was a neat move.
The front of the build is somewhat familiar to fans who built the previous version of the Sanctum Sanctorum, with a few neat part usages for the stone detailing and a large window piece for the iconic top floor window, but there are some other neat new additions too - such as the trees at the front of the build using a recoloured seaweed piece as part of the build, and I honestly think this was a really cool move by LEGO.
The rear of the build adds in some fun stickers to the build, such as the Shawarma King poster (Avengers), "Join us at S.H.I.E.L.D." poster (Iron Man 2/Avengers) and the poster for the Captain America Museum (Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series).
The build also features some removable panels across the build, one being located behind this poster and on the lower floor too - revealing the Time Stone in a small build very reminiscent of the original appearance of the Eye of Agamoto.
The First Floor of the Sanctum gives us the iconic stairway of the Sanctum, and if it looks a bit cramped - it admittedly is. LEGO have done really well with the limitations of the space they gave themselves, but boy did they manage to cramp a lot of detail in here.
There's Doctor Strange's Medical Degree on the wall, what looks to be a selfie in the snow with Strange and Wong, a world map with the Sanctums marked on them - and even some things hidden underneath the floor of the next level, like a pizza box and box of Wong's stuff.
I would honestly be in love with so many of these pieces a bit more if they weren't all stickers. Oh boy...
The Second Floor of the Sanctum suffers a bit of tragedy with floor space, as this floor is primarily just a continuation of the lower floor.
Does not mean that it is without its references though! The Apple on the shelf amongst the scroll would have to be a reference to the decaying apple scene from Doctor Strange 1, "Shamballa" also being his wi-fi password, the Cloak of Levitation scroll as well, and even the two chairs with a beer in between them - which is a final reference to Doctor Strange's brief cameo in Thor: Ragnarok.
Now I did promise to explain why LEGO chose the big gap on the rear of the build - and this is it. The door in the middle of the library has a play feature where fans can imagine opening the magic door to one location, closing it, and then opening it to a different setting.
This is a reference to Doctor Strange's first fight in his titular film inside the Sanctum, where he interacts with magical doors and sends a few of his enemies to the arctic and desert.
This is also one of the spots where the wall can be removed from the side and put the Gargantos/Shuma Gorath creature portal facing inwards attacking the inside of the Sanctum.
The Third Floor of the Sanctum is what can be easily described as the relic room - with references to other LEGO properties as well.
Around the room, we can find references to Lord Garmadon's helmet, Monkie Kid's Golden Staff, the black skeleton body referencing the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, the Brazier of Bom'Galiath (used in the fight with Kaecillius and used by Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange 2)
Doctor Strange (Multiverse of Madness)
If you have seen our previous review of the Gargantos Showdown set, this figure is the same. As a quick recap, Doctor Strange comes with new printing for 2022 and a new rubber cape mould introduced last year. He's an all-round good figure, but I wish this set had something just a tad exclusive with him.
Sinister Strange (Multiverse of Madness)
Sinister Strange represents a version of Doctor Strange who used the Darkhold - a nefarious book that only ever spells doom for those who use it and become corrupted.
Sinister Strange sports a third eye for his figure - which is one of the more terrifying aspects of this character compared to his other versions, and the use of the decrepit skin colouring for the figure is well done.
Defender Strange (Multiverse of Madness)
Defender Strange here is certainly looking a bit worse for wear, and if you've read this far into this review, you clearly don't care about movie spoilers or have seen the film already.
Defender Strange, as this instance of the film, is very much dead. Doctor Strange uses the Darkhold to reanimate the corpse of Defender Strange to try and save the day within his own universe, and generally doesn't have a good time.
I would have personally loved to get the Defender Strange version in this set, but I'm also just as welcome to get a zombie-strange too. I wish his torso was a bit more coherent however, as it is hard at times to figure out what is going on.
Sorcerer Supreme Mordo (Multiverse of Madness)
Mordo reappears in the MCU once again as an alternate universe Sorceror Supreme. I'm glad to see this figure reappear once again, and sporting a new hair mould no less!
Sorceror Surpreme Mordo was very close to being an awesome figure, but is ultimately let down by lack of leg printing for what is supposed to be one of the biggest highlight characters of the set. Bummer.
Scarlet Witch (Multiverse of Madness)
Look, I don't know where to start with the Scarlet Witch. LEGO really hit it out of the park with the WandaVision version of this character in the Marvel Collectible Minifigure series, and I wasn't sure how they were going to top it - and well, they didn't.
Wanda is incredibly bland here, with no leg printing, arm printing or anything to really draw me to the character. You'd almost be better off getting the original CMF Wanda and blending the two characters together here, because this is a thumbs down from me.
I mean, she's the main villain of Doctor Strange 2.
Benedict Wong (Avengers: Infinity War)
Wong takes us back in time a bit to a time where things were ultimately a lot more simple. This version of Wong hasn't been seen since the ToysRus exclusive pack days, and I'm 100% for it.
Once again though, no leg printing...
Spiderman (Avengers: Infinity War)
I like Spiderman, but his addition here is a little weird. From what I can tell, there is no exclusive parts to this figure and is mainly here to recreate the scene from Avengers: Infinity War.
Would have preferred someone else here to be honest - like maybe an accurate Bruce Banner?
Iron Man (Avengers: Infinity War)
Iron Man also makes his way into this set to recreate the early scenes of Infinity War. This figure sports nothing really new, other than a new helmet mould. I'm still on the fence about this new moulded helmet, but I don't think it works here...
Ebony Maw (Avengers: Infinity War)
Ebony Maw appears in this set as an updated and refreshed version of the character. The choice to remake him as grey rather than the weird blue colour they used last time was a good move, but I wish they updated the whole character and gave something more to him than a new torso and face.
Like leg printing perhaps. I don't know. He just looks a little empty here.
Oh boy, where do I begin?
The Sanctum Sanctorum set is a set that has a lot of hype behind it to meet a lot of high expectations. I mean, it is one of the most iconic buildings of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Daily Bugle from yesteryear set the bar incredibly high with the level of detail, quality in figures (even if generic, they still did well) and overall display "Wow" factor.
The Sanctum does...not. This build falls a bit flat and most of it comes down to how small it feels. The building space is cramped and the figures don't feel like they rise to the level fans were expecting. There are good figures, and then there are baaaad ones.
I wish LEGO didn't modularise this build and kept it a bit more free form to really grow into its own shape - the Bugle didn't and look how well that went.
If I take those preconceived aspects away from my review and look at it without any of that extra stuff in mind, is it a good build? Yes, but still also no.
It's a modular, but it doesn't feel as 'elegant' as a modular. Mind you, the price point of this set isn't all that far from the Modular series, so I'm giving it some slack with budget.
However, the set feels like it wanted to go hard in on the modular aspect but then halfway through decided it was going to be a generic LEGO City building with play features. The top floor, when emptied of relics, doesn't feel like a 'clean' room and has quite a lot of jarring parts exposed that make it feel a bit messy.
The outside of the build is great - don't get me wrong! But inside just feels too much.
I was going into this really hoping I would love this set, as this set had a lot of potential, and it just fell a bit flat. I can easily see fans grabbing this set and ramping it up to meet their own lofty expectations, and I'm all for it.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this please leave a comment below.
This article was written by Tim & Dannii.
Find them on Instagram at @legobuildingwithtimanddannii
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