So, Doctor Strange is now upon us in cinemas, at least in Europe it is, and I managed to see it on the silver screen just earlier today. Before I go into any LEGO discussion, I’ll just quickly say my two cents about the film…
Film Thoughts (Spoiler-free!)
Doctor Strange is a fantastic film to behold, in my opinion. The visuals witnessed are arguably the best that the Marvel Cinematic Universe have offered up as of yet, with the spells and dimensions offering immense visual thrills almost worth the price of a ticket alone. As such, it is an added bonus to have such a captivating performance from Benedict Cumberbatch (albeit with a slightly wonky American accent at times), along with an eccentric and very humorous supporting cast in Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton and Benedict Wong. Mads Mikkelsen is unfortunately just another disposable villain, but at least his motives are clear and reasonable, and his interference with the other characters has opened the door to many greater and more infamous villains down the line.
All in all, a great film that I can understand why the critics have praised so highly. Recognition-wise, I’d be thrilled if the film was to be nominated for Visual Effects and/or Costume Design at the Academy Awards, although I can’t really picture it being nominated for much else.
How Accurate Is The LEGO Set? (SPOILER WARNING)
Alright, enough of my opinions about the film, now on to the set accuracy. Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum (76060) is the one and only Doctor Strange set this year, with Captain America: Civil War getting the multi-set deal from Marvel.
-Let’s begin with the accuracy of the Mini-figures; first up, the titular hero himself,
Mr, ahem, Doctor Strange. This figure is the spitting image of the character portrayed by Cumberbatch on-screen. The blue robes are replicated beautifully, with the belt details and black lines adding a convincing level of texture to the very layered costume in the film. Also, the spells he is casting in the set are suitably generic, and could be seen as representing both the common shield charm used throughout the film, and also the symbol that Strange appears to be casting during the time manipulation scenes. Some minor criticisms would be that the Eye of Agamotto seems to be in its open form on the figure, despite that the Eye is perhaps only open for around 3 minutes total in the film – is the LEGO Doctor Strange always in a time loop? As well as this, perhaps the new Superman hair-piece would be better suited than the one used, but other than that, there’s no substantial critique present.
Another nice touch is that, apparently, the runes located on this piece actually spell out “Dormammu Is Near” in the Norse Cyrillic Alphabet, a clever hint towards what turns out to be the primary villain of the film. It would also of been pleasing to of included the trans-orange chain piece included with this year’s Ghost Rider set to represent the Fire-Whip that Strange uses many time in the movie.
-Next up is Karl Mordo, who will likely be known as Baron Mordo in any following MCU instalments due to his turn to villainy at the end of the movie. Again, this figure is extremely accurate to the on-screen counterpart. The hair and face prints replicate that of Ejiofor’s very well, along with the costume representing his monk garb nicely. The only minor criticism with this figure is that the staff accessory doesn’t really represent his shorter, extendible staff from the film.
-The final figure of the set, The Ancient One, is probably the easiest to direct criticism towards, as I believe that this exact outfit doesn’t actually appear in the final, finished film. That being said, The Ancient One does indeed appear in a variety of outfits throughout the film, including a set of blue robes with a golden under-shirt, so this may just be that outfit with the outer robes removed. I do also find the rear of the head print to be rather bemusing, as no such pattern appears on Swinton’s character in the film. That being said, the facial likeness to Swinton is pretty much there, and the accessories included do represent the fan-shaped weapons that The Ancient One wields against Kaecilius and his Zealots.
All told, a very accurate set of figures, with the minor exception of some of The Ancient One’s costume. It would of been very welcome to of actually gotten a figure of Kaecilius however, especially since the primary antagonist of the brick-built squid monster never even appeared in the film…
The actual build itself is where the accuracy begins to drop, rather dramatically at that.
An immediately noticeable flaw is that the window symbol meant to represent the New York Sanctorum is incorrect. The actual shape is almost there, but the symbol needs to be significantly slanted to the side, unlike the LEGO model, but I suppose this can be forgiven due to building/stability restraints.
In regards to the furniture dotted around the set, including shelves, chests and wooden tables, this does a reasonable job of showcasing the sprawling display of artefacts in the Sanctorum. The on-screen room is full of seemingly random objects, although some of the more significant ones have been showcased here. For example, the holster for the Cloak of Levitation does an adequate job of portraying the display case from the film, and the lamp-like object that Strange uses to beat Kaecilius with (which he “doesn’t know how to use properly”) is shown at the top of the left bookcase. The transparent stands used to create the levitation effects of the characters also work well, as Strange does indeed levitate inside the Sanctorum in the film, during his fight with Kaecilius.
The letters and maps scattered around the room are a pleasing touch in terms of set detail, and do add a certain level of accuracy; following the Sanctorum duel between Strange, Kaecilius and his Zealots, the building is left in disarray with a lot of artefacts smashed and scattered – these bits of paper add somewhat to this effect. That being said, the actual named books and letters aren’t too accurate, with the Codex Imperium and Book of the Invisible Sun only being seen in Wong’s library back in Kathmandu, for example. That being said, not everything has to be perfectly accurate; I really like these details and they do add to the aesthetic of the scene, plus they show that the designers put some effort into making the set tie into the film’s events and locations.
Now, what is easily the most inaccurate portion of this whole set is the Portal Beast that takes up the right side of the build. It is correct that portals do indeed appear in the Sanctorum, but it’s mainly our main human characters coming in and out, and not this abominable creature. If the famed Doctor Strange villain Shuma-Gorath was to appear in the film, then this build could arguably pass for that character as it is a multi-tentacled beast similar to the one from this set. However, the only inter-dimensional foe to appear is that of Dormammu, who is much more human-like in physical nature.
So, in summary, this set is rather middling in terms of accuracy. Whilst the figures are almost flawless, the actual set is riddled with accuracy issues, primarily the huge monster that has no remote appearance on screen – This must be insult to injury for Mads Mikkelsen, who not only didn’t get his primary antagonist to appear in the set but was replaced by this very odd choice. Before I give it a rating, I’ll preface my remarks by saying that I really do like this set a lot, as it has great figures, brilliant action functions and a nice display value, not to mention the comfortable price. However, it does suffer quite a bit in terms of accuracy.
Figures – 8.5/10 (Strange and Mordo are near flawless, slight inaccuracies with The Ancient One)
Build – 4/10 (Inaccurate Sanctorum symbol, monster, colour scheme and paper references)
Final Accuracy Verdict – 12.5/20, which is 62.5%
So there we have it. Make sure to check back on the 15th December for the next in this series of articles, for the next blockbuster to get the LEGO Treatment – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
So, until then, keep yourself entertained with all the other LEGO news updates, here on The Brick Show!