Cate Blanchett is once again superb in this sequel to 1998’s Elizabeth, earning another Oscar nomination for her second portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I.

It’s 1585 and she’s facing dastardly plots from Mary Queen of Scots (Samantha Morton) and an invasion from abroad by King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà).

Geoffrey Rush’s sinister Walsingham is as impressive as before, Abi Cornish is the queen’s favourite lady in waiting and as a dashing Sir Walter Raleigh – back from the New World with potatoes and tobacco – Clive Owen is a film-stealer.

It’s a stylish epic with plush locations, costumes and props, plus an exciting sea battle action climax as Raleigh coolly tackles the Spanish Armada.