Sanctum Sanctorum: the perfect Lego set for Marvel fans
Lego launches its latest Marvel set today, the Sanctum Sanctorum from «Doctor Strange». As a film and comic nerd extraordinaire, I can confirm that the set is amazing – but expensive.
«Luca, would you like to write about a new Lego set,» game editor Ramon Schneider asks me mere days before he goes on holiday. «Typical,» I think to myself. When your colleagues are away, it means more work for those left behind. I’d have declined with thanks. But Ramon doesn’t give me that much time. He’s too smart for that.
Ramon slams a blue IKEA bag onto my desk – in it, a huge cardboard box. What I see on the outside of it makes any suspicions – and a few curse words – I had about Ramon’s clumsy work-shunting tactics disappear in a cloud of smoke. It’s Sanctum Sanctorum from Marvel’s «Doctor Strange».
«I thought with you being a Marvel fan, it’d be right up your street,» says Ramon with a grin. «You thought right» I answer him in a higher and more shaky voice than is appropriate for objective journalism. That same day, I start assembling the set at home. A week, over 2,700 parts and about ten dedicated hours later, I admire my work and begin to reflect on the film and its comic origins.
The Sanctum Sanctorum: hub of mystical forces
What a majestic sight. An almost perfect portrayal of the most mystical of all the houses in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Including the large, round window on the third floor with its characteristic curved four beams – the Window of the Worlds, adorned with the seal of Vishanti, which protects the Sanctum Sanctorum from supernatural invaders.
And that was totally intentional. The gods of Vishanti have already written the book of Vishanti, which is supposed to resist the Darkhold – his counterpart – in «Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness». The book contains the most powerful white magic of all time, but it can only be used for defence, never for attack.
I’m impressed. You can see the attention to detail in everything. And the set is obviously based on the look of the film. With that in mind, you need to know that the MCU Sanctum Sanctorum and the Comic Sanctum Sanctorum have two completely different origin stories.
Let’s recap. In the first «Doctor Strange» film, the elder teaches us that the Sanctum Sanctorum is not a single building, but the consolidation of three temples, connected by magical portals and mighty ley lines – veins of magic. The great wizard Agamotto and the first of all Sorcerians Supremes built them to protect the earth. In turn, each temple is protected by a «master of the mystical arts». After all, many dangerous magical relics are stored in the temples, which could do great damage if they ended up in the wrong hands.
The comics, on the other hand, tell us a completely different tale. In these stories, the country on which the Sanctum Sanctorum stands today was cursed long before its Western European settlement by a powerful Indian shaman. Feeling the centre of mystical energy, the shaman used the sheer power of the place to bind the evil chaos entity Tyanon to it and in doing, so deny it full access to earth.
Decades later, the land was used by the European settlers for pagan victims. Then it became a mass grave for beggars and inmates of New York’s first prison. It later housed, amongst others, a satanic cult, a nunnery and puritan witch hunters, who tortured innocent immigrants in the vaults. Crazy stuff.
Eventually, Doctor Strange came across the house as he was drawn to its supernatural aura. After freeing it from the chaos entity Tyanon, he declared it his Sanctum Sanctorum. To this day, it’s still a mystery who the architect of the house is, and no one has information about the house’s structure. The building is still growing and constantly changing. Even today.
The perfect Marvel set for adults
This Lego set isn’t cheap. At the time of writing, it comes in at 279.– francs. But my colleague Ramon had already warned me that «Lego is always really expensive.» So the question is less about if the price is justified. And more about if you actually want the set, and in that case, whether you’re prepared to dig (too) deep into your pocket for it.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that the price affirms the suspicion that this set is aimed at an older target group of over 18s. At the very least. It might have Marvel written on it. But the Sanctum Sanctorum isn’t really suitable when it comes to actually playing. The house is big, but not huge. Although you can remove the three poles individually, the tight space confines would spoil the fun a bit.
The house makes up for it by being filled with loving details from the films. Such as the fireplace from «Spider-Man: No Way Home» with a green couch, the Mjölnir disguised as an umbrella from «Thor: Ragnarok», the hall of relics on the third floor and even a portal to the library in the Kamar-Taj, where forbidden books are kept under lock and key.
For me, all of this makes Lego’s Sanctum Sanctorum more like decoration than a playhouse. This doesn’t detract from any joy I get from it, even as a Marvel fan. Quite the opposite, in fact. If I was allowed to keep the set Lego gave me, it’d immediately be one of my favourite pieces in my already huge film and comic merch collection.
Whatever. Maybe I’ll buy one myself. Even though it is too expensive. I just want it.Don’t forget to look through the lovely picture gallery on the cover image at the top.
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»
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