Review: LEGO’s Sanctum Sanctorum assembles the largest Marvel set of the year, but is it worth the cost?

Buy now

On August 1, the LEGO Group launched its largest Marvel set of the year with the new Sanctum Sanctorum modular finally hitting store shelves. Now a week later, we’ve fully assembled the kit and are going hands-on to look at the overall build, every inch of detail, and the nine minifigures.

LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum hands-on look

Last year, the LEGO Group launched a massive recreation of the Daily Bugle, laying the groundwork for the new Sanctum Sanctorum. At the time, there was no telling if the Marvel Modular building was going to become a staple in the LEGO catalog, or stay as a one-off, and now time has gone on to show that this is a series the company looks to be delivering on year after year.

This time around, the LEGO Group is moving on from the web-swinging side of Marvel and into one of the central buildings in recent MCU flicks. Stacking up to 2,708 pieces, the new Sanctum Sanctorum assembles the iconic New York residence of Doctor Strange with a $249.99 price point.

In its latest rendition, the model arrives as the largest LEGO Marvel set of the year. The over 2,700 pieces all combine to assemble just the single building, with no secondary builds like last year’s Daily Bugle. So in that sense, the LEGO Group is really sticking to the usual Modular Building formula, which carries over to some other aspects we’ll get into. Applied to the Marvel side of things, you’re looking at a 3-story building that can be separated into each of the different layers to reveal the details that lie beneath.

There’s also a solid assortment of minifigures, with nine different characters appearing from the MCU. And on that topic, there isn’t just a single film represented in the set. The new LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum is split between theming around Avengers: Infinity War, as well as the more recent title, Multiverse of Madness.

Walking through LEGO’s latest Modular Building

As far as the build actually goes, the LEGO Group has really just delivered a second Modular Building this year. The kit is spread across three different instruction booklets which let you piece together the model floor by floor until you’ve arrived at the scarcely-covered roof, though between that and the tiled-over sidewalk are three layers all packed with details.

Before we bust down the doors at 177 Bleecker Street, there’s so much on the exterior to admire. And arguably, all of the most notable aspects of the LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum are found across its meticulously brick-built facades. Nearly every inch is covered in some of the most detailed techniques that designers have been able to pack into a LEGO set, alongside some delightful sticker uses to represent in-world advertisements and graffiti.

One of my favorite aspects of the set that leads to its display-worthiness is the exposed studs around the exterior. These provide an anchor point for the transparent beams that let you have the included minifigures flying around the build or engaged in action poses. It’s quite the nice inclusion for setting up your own display or recreating moments from the films for your collection. There are also some panels that can be removed to expose the interior, of which one has a fun portal effect that brings Gargantos into the set. It’s not as full of an inclusion of the one Multiverse of Madness set, but does had some nice play and display features.

Starting on the ground floor, there isn’t actually all that much to explore. Going right in the front door reveals a staircase up to the second floor, with a small waiting area off the to the right. Hidden in view unless you go access the side door or pull up the stairs, there is also a small storage area with a refrigerator and shelf.

Taking those stairs up to the next floor reveals a library section that incorporates one of the set’s main features. Built into the back bookshelf, there is a door which when opened, reveals one of three different portals to other worlds. It’s a fun little feature that adds to the play side of the set, but isn’t all that easy to show off when the kit is up on display.

Then on the third and final floor is the museum of mystical collection that houses quite a few iconic artifacts from the MCU and greater comic book world at large. There are certainly some fun inclusions, though like the rest of the set, most of the space isn’t used all too intricately.

A closer look at the Sanctum Sanctorum minifigures

Striking facades aside, the new LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum also includes an impressive array of nine minifigures. Some of these Marvel characters are entirely new releases for the LEGO side of the theme, while others look to recreate icons we’ve seen countless times in the past. And just as the exclusivity of the characters themselves is varied, the quality of the included minifigures too is inconsistent across the selection. We’ve taken a deep dive on what you can expect from the minifigure lineup in a separate post, but there are some more brief thoughts below.

Starting things off, we have three different Doctor Strange minifigs. It’s only fitting that we take a look at the former Sorcerer Supreme first given that the Sanctum Sanctorum is his lair, and to honor that fact the LEGO Group has delivered three incarnations of him. You’re getting both Zombie Strange and Sinister Strange from Multiverse of Madness, as well as the original 616 version of Strange.

From there, the remaining figures are broken down into two groups based on the film each character makes an appearance in. Continuing with the Doctor Strange action, there is a trio of characters from his sequel flick. Both Wong and the Scarlet Witch are making some less than stellar reappearance in LEGO form, while Master Mordo is getting an all-new version that’s themed around the newer film.

Closing out the lineup are three characters from Infinity War. Iron Man and Spider-Man are some of the expected figures you’d like to see, and each of them have received some updated minifigures. The villain from the scene, Ebony Maw, is also included and has a new design to match.

You can get a better idea of our thoughts on each of the nine minifigures included in the LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum in the full breakdown feature here. But across the board, there are some pretty inconsistent figures with many of the older characters being downgraded from their previous brick-built releases. It’s a bit unfortunate that over half of the included minifigs aren’t as good as we’d have liked to see, especially with how good some of the better inclusions are.

How the set compares to the 2018 model

The last aspect of the set to cover is how the new LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum compares to the original model. This may be the best version of the set to date, but it’s worth taking a trip down memory road to see just how the $250 price tag this time around stacks up to the 2018 version’s $100 going rate.

Scale is the biggest thing right off the bat, with the new Modular Building version towering over the play-scale iteration from four years ago. The size also means that the LEGO Group could pack plenty of more accurate details in the newer model, though I am shocked by just how good the original holds up. Most of the signature inclusions made the cut on both models, like the unqiue brick work out from as well as the circular window up top.

Interestingly enough, I wouldn’t say that the new LEGO Sanctum Sanctorum has that much better of an interior. Sure there are some more intricate displays, but the decor isn’t as drastic of a step up as the exteriors of the two sets. Speaking of areas where the original 2018 model holds its own, the minifigure assortment was much more consistent. There weren’t as many as the more recent take on the Bleecker Street residence, but each of them were certainly the best that LEGO had to offer at the time – something that certainly isn’t the case this time around.

9to5Toys’ Take

All said and done and over a thousand words later, the new Sanctum Sanctorum Modular set is one of the year’s most interesting LEGO kits. As much as I’ve written about both the pros and the cons of the set, whether it’s worth the $250 price tag is ultimately the big question. And to that end, there are two ways to look at it.

Overall, it really is an incredible build from the outside. The shelf presence of the set is unlike anything we’ve seen this year from the Marvel side of things, and is one of the most detailed and intricate Modular Buildings to date. It’ll look striking up on display, and pairs oh so perfectly with last year’s Daily Bugle or any of the other buildings that the LEGO Group has released over the years. And so if the conversation can end there, the price tag is very easily justifiable.

On the other hand, when you dive a bit deeper, there are a lot of flaws that begin to show themselves. The interior is pretty lacking, even if there are a lot of callbacks to the MCU, and the minifigure lineup leaves a lot up to the imagination. So if you’re after the absolute best value out there from a LEGO set, the Sanctum Sanctorum isn’t that.

Even so, it isn’t the worst you could do in the LEGO realm right now, and even more critical builders like myself will find that the Sanctum Sanctorum is one of the best kits of the year – if not the the very best that 2022 has to offer.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news and give our LEGO account over on Twitter a follow, as well as our Instagram and TikTok. You can of course always bookmark our guide right here or sign up for our newsletter. You can also support 9to5Toys by purchasing LEGO from our affiliate links for the LEGO ShopAmazon, and Zavvi.

FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links

Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Load more...
Show More Comments