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Rewatching the fight with Neo-Noir Spider-Man vs Tombstone in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, his second to last punch has the sound effect "APPLESAUCE" plastered all over the background.

Which I don't understand, at all. Because the previous sound effects are a lot more "normal" sounding, being JAB and SLUG, but APPLESAUCE is just out of right field.

Is this referencing something?

  • I believe @GGMG is correct in his answer, but it could also just be that since it was the final hit that Applesauce would be appropriate, like hitting an apple - hit it hard enough it turns to applesauce and it's done, or in this case the bad guy was hit so hard he was finished. Just a wild guess based on some MMA commentary where they mention the defeated combatant was "turned to ground beef". – DustinDavis Mar 4 at 16:49
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Applesauce is a term of disapproval from the 1930s. It is a synonym for other words from the era such as malarkey or horsefeathers. It was also a term used to describe crooning lounge singer music. Basically all around it meant something mushy, weak, no substance, etc.

In this scene I took it to mean he defeated his opponent super easily, so it was a dig at the bad guy. Would easily combine with the other two answers here, as layers to the joke.

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This is likely a variant of a fairly common joke in which a comic book fight with accompanying action words start out fairly mundane and slowly dial it up to 11, ending with a nonsense word that doesn't remotely resemble an acceptable sound effect. You can see almost the exact same joke in The Simpsons and a slightly more on-the-nose version in Bat Thumb.

The joke is a callback to Adam West Batman's slugfests, which tended to have unintentionally goofy effect words accompanying fight scenes with multiple villains against multiple heroes in a single open environment. Feel free to take your pick for examples, my favorite is ZLONK for punching somebody in the jaw or ZLORP for swinging into somebody on a chandelier.

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