Between Marvel and DC and their respective attempts to corner the superhero movie market, there has been more additions to the genre this year than you could shake Thor's hammer at. Deadpool was the first superhero blockbuster of the year to hit the silver screen, but despite all the various super powered additions to the X-Men, Justice League and Avengers sagas that followed it, Ryan Reynolds' pitch-perfect portrayal of Marvel's indestructible antihero has remained untouched by the competition. What's particularly impressive about this accomplishment is that in many ways Deadpool was a comparative underdog.

Lacking the sky-high budgets and wall-to-wall CGI of many of its better financed cousins, this first cinematic outing for the gun-toting, wise-cracking Wade Wilson, giving zero fucks on his kamikaze mission to fix his messed-up face, had an altogether more indie vibe. The simple, standalone narrative spent far more time luxuriating in the offbeat toilet humour of Deadpool, than navigating a convoluted, overcrowded plot. Perhaps most importantly, it is genuinely, unashamedly, side-splittingly hilarious. Ryan Reynolds clearly had a blast making this film, but he's also an ardent fan of the character and as such, his account is as authentically reverent of its source material as a superhero film has ever been.

There will be more Deadpool movies in the future, that much is certain, but with such a faithful steward of this character in Reynolds, fans shouldn't feel too anxious about meddling movie execs messing things up.

A close second in this year's Writers' Poll is an altogether different beast. Hunt For The Wilderpeople has been dubbed the live action Up! but that's not to say its storytelling is lazy or derivative. Directed by Taika Waititi and starring Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison, this giant-hearted comedy-drama masterfully manipulates the heartstrings with its unvarnished tale of unlikely, cross-generational mateship in the New Zealand bush.

An honourable mention must go to the bronze medallist in this year's top ten: Arrival. Amy Adams' Oscar-worthy turn as the quietly heroic linguist, Louise Banks, proved that the alien invasion genre needn't be a testosterone-drenched shoot-em-up. This softly cerebral story, directed by Denis Villeneuve, replaces the exploding cities and laser beams with quiet, considered intelligence. Lord knows we need more of that in the world.

1. Deadpool

"A film that offers a running commentary on the genre — mocking all those tired tropes so you don’t have to — is something to be welcomed with open arms."
- Anthony Carew

2. Hunt For The Wilderpeople

"With its runaway orphan, chaptered intertitles, and foregrounded pop-songs (Leonard Cohen! Rodriguez! Nina Simone!), there’s hints of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, but it’s still signature Waititi."
- Anthony Carew

3. Arrival

"For anyone who’s ever rolled their eyes at the dramatic shortcuts of ‘universal translators’ or fresh-off-the-spaceship aliens speaking theatre-worthy English, Arrival marks a fabulous tonic."
- Anthony Carew

4. Room

"[Room] does the hard, honest work of studying human psychology, and seeking uncomfortable answers to difficult questions."
- Anthony Carew

5. The Hateful Eight

"It's theatre. It’s event. It's cinema as circus; a big-top spectacle to be treated with reverence."
- Anthony Carew

6. The Nice Guys

7. The Revenant

"In the middle of any of the film’s many signature set-pieces — the bear mauling, the downriver escape, the buffalo stampede — the visual wonder is so dynamic, so profound, so strong, that you feel as if you’re watching a new classic."
- Anthony Carew

8. Sausage Party

"Surprisingly, it harbours greater ambitions beyond delivering us a talking used condom."
- Anthony Carew

9. Anomalisa

"Kaufman has created a stop-motion-animated world filled with down-to-earth, realist details: the crease-lines on Michael’s trousers, the glowing lights from vending machine or taxi brake-lights."
- Anthony Carew

10. Nocturnal Animals


Previous winners:

2015: Mad Max: Fury Road
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
2013: Gravity
2012: The Dark Knight Rises
2011: Drive