The former Falcon is turning 44! (See if you can say that five times fast.)
That’s right, Anthony Mackie is celebrating a birthday today. But he’s honestly had a lot to celebrate for a solid two decades now. From his film debut in 2002’s 8 Mile alongside Eminem, to signing on for the title role in the upcoming Captain America: New World Order, Mackie’s star just keeps getting brighter and brighter.
Most people know Mackie from his dual roles in the MCU, where he first appeared as Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and then recently decided to carry on Cap’s legacy in the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
But Mackie’s career spanned genres and included multiple standout performances before he ever donned mechanical wings. If you want to celebrate his birthday today and want to branch out from the MCU, consider one of these movies:
The Hurt Locker – In this 2009 Best Picture winner, future MCU colleagues Mackie and Jeremy Renner play teammates in the Army’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal team in Iraq. As in, they’re the guys who disarm bombs. This remains one of the most intense films I’ve ever seen, and Mackie is fantastic in it.
Notorious – In this biopic about the life and early death of rapper Christopher Wallace (Jamal Woolard), aka The Notorious B.I.G., Mackie plays Biggie’s West Coast rival, Tupac Shakur.
The Adjustment Bureau – Though Mackie’s in a minor role as a member of the mysterious group from the film’s title, I still have to mention this sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt because I loved it so much and want more people to discover it.
The Hate U Give – This excellent adaptation of the best-selling 2017 novel by Angie Thomas stars Amandla Stenberg as a teenager who becomes an activist after witnessing her childhood friend get shot and killed by a policeman. Regina King, Common, Mackie and Issa Rae are among the adults in the cast.
Synchronic – This is a hidden gem of Mackie’s that unfortunately stayed pretty under the radar, even though it’s excellent. He and Jamie Dornan star as paramedics who begin looking into the bizarre deaths they’ve been encountering on the job—all of which seem to be tied to a new drug.
The Night Before – Let’s end on a silly note. And since I was just at a craft store that’s already selling Christmas decorations, that means it’s not too early in the year for it. It’s about BFFs (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Mackie) who go decide to go buck wild on Christmas Eve before one of them becomes a father for the first time.