You know what I find truly remarkable about this scene? Is not just that she JUMPS OFF A SPEEDING ALIEN VEHICLE HUNDREDS OF FEET ABOVE THE GROUND but that she knows the EXACT MOMENT to make the jump to not only hit the roof (which, at that height and speed is an incredibly small target) but to hit it at a point where she isn’t going to a) immediately crash into a wall or b) be carried by her momentum over the other side and down a gazillion stories to the ground.
Natasha had to calculate IN HER HEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF A BATTLE the velocity of the alien vehicle, the size of Stark Tower’s roof, how high she was above it (so she wasn’t so high she’d be killed just by the fall to the roof), how long it would take her to make the jump successfully, what position to hit the roof in to minimize the physical damage, possibly even half a dozen other things. A miscalculation either way—too soon or too late—would’ve killed her.
Yeah, when she describes someone genius-level smart in CA:TWS as “slightly smarter than her but only slightly,” she’s NOT KIDDING. Natasha is probably either just as or very nearly as smart as Bruce or Tony or Jane or Betty, her training just meant those smarts were put to use in a different way. And that it’s something she’s trained to manipulate people’s expectations of, just like with her sex. IMO, if Natasha asks to have something explained, it’s not because she doesn’t understand, it’s because she doesn’t want the person she’s asking to KNOW she understands. Because her stock in trade is getting people to underestimate her and then using that against them. And this scene is the proof. Because when no one is watching, she is BRILLIANT.
I think it’s really important to point this out and talk about the gendering of intelligence in the Marvel universe as a whole. There are very few Marvel female heroes who are presented as Geniuses in that classic high IQ/seven doctorates/can solve any problem/slightly insane way. In fact, the only major character who springs immediately to my mind is Valeria Richards, and she’s a child.
In part, this is probably due to the fact that this kind of intelligence is not considered an attractive female trait, and the primary purpose of most female characters is to be attractive to men. But I think this gifset & commentary highlight another reason: because many female characters would have to be Geniuses (in that way that signifies possession of the quality that IQ tests are supposed to, but don’t necessarily, measure) to do what they do, but the ways in which they exhibit that Genius do not fit within the traditional (masculine) understanding. For instance, Natasha proved herself at a very young age to be someone who was capable of phenomenally rapid problem-solving, skill-adoption, and general learning. That’s how she survived. Where Tony Stark and Reed Richards et al received doctorates, the prize for her intelligence was staying alive.
I think that the same is true of other female superheroes. I’m thinking also of Storm, who canonically is multilingual, a gifted and expert thief, and whose mutant power seems to include an incredibly complex insight into the mechanism of weather patterns. (She, like Natasha, is also adept at rapid problem-solving.) And Maya Lopez has the ability to learn almost any skill to perfection simply by seeing it demonstrated— I can’t remember what this is termed in the comics, but in real life it would certainly be labeled genius.
So why is the super-intelligence of these women not acknowledged? I think we all know the answer to that.