The movie might not be out until November, but the only announced Lego tie-in set was released on August 1st – Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. This is a £29.99/$29.99 set with 358 pieces, averaging it out to 8.4p per piece, which isn’t too bad for a branded release.
Start with our video review, then read on…
If you’re anything like me, you’ll know absolutely nothing about Doctor Strange, something that I’m sure is fairly common among a mainstream audience. That probably limits the market for this set somewhat, especially if the film doesn’t end up being a success. Kids are simply going to bypass it on their way to the usual Batman and Avengers sets. But it they do, they’ll be missing out, for this is a great set in both it’s design and construction.
Coming in three bags and spread across two instruction books, you start by building the floor and centre window area, before continuing onto the portal beast on the right, and then finally onto the bookcases, table and other details. And there are no shortage of details, with the 358 pieces being used to great effect. I always think the best sets are the ones that make you think they have more pieces than they really do, and that’s definitely the case here. I especially like the bookcases, which are a good example of how just one special piece, such as a skull head or top hat, can go a long way to telling a story.
Each part of the portal beast connects into a cog which feeds through the wall onto a steering wheel at the back that allows you to move them back and forth. The shape of the tentacles doesn’t allow you to spin them a full 360, so you’ll be spinning it one way and then the other. The effect actually works really well, and it’s possible to put a mining in front of the portal and trap them by the tentacles. I have no idea why Doctor Strange has a portal in his library, or why a portal beast would be trying to come through out, but that’s probably just back to me not knowing who this character is.
Each bag also contains one of the minifigures, starting with Doctor Strange himself. I had a real problem understanding how to fold his cape with the large collar, because the instructions weren’t very clear, but he is a nice figure once you sort that out. He has two round elements for each of his hands to make it look like he’s casting a spell, which look great, and it’s nice that they have proper tiny grips at the back for him to hold onto.
Next we have The Ancient One, the mentor of Doctor Strange, and originally a man, but played by Tilda Swinton in the upcoming movie. Since this minifig looks like a woman, we’ll assume that’s the look they’re going for here. She is carrying two magical fans, which have eldritch calligraphy on them (the same as Doctor Strange’s magical hands).
Finally, Karl Mordo. I’m confused here, because Baron/Karl Mordo is the super-villain of Doctor Strange (I can use Google!) but Lego are pitching him here as helping The Ancient One battle the portal beast. He has two faces, and is carrying a quarterstaff.
Note that if you’re a minifig collector, this is the only announced Doctor Strange set, which may make these three figures pretty rare.
The set has two transparent moving platforms on either side of the middle table that can be used to levitate the minifigs up and down, to make it look like the characters are flying. This is a great idea when using this as a playset. It also has a place for Doctor Strange to sit, so it can look as though he is levitating in the corner. Again, this might be something from the comics, but in this context it just seems really strange. Lego seem to be saying that the two secondary characters are going to fly across the room, and the main character is just going to sit and stare at the wall. Huh?
Stark Industries. Movie spoiler?
Noah has no idea who Doctor Strange is, but he still had fun playing with this set. Three minifigs, a room to put them in, lots of little details and things to move – it’s a little paradise for him. I think lots of kids would think the same, so it’s a shame that it’ll probably be overlooked. On the other hand, if the movie is a massive success, you’ll be ahead of the game if you pick it up now.
Full disclosure, this set was provided by Lego for review, but these opinions are my own.