"Honestly, everybody was laughing, they were yelling at the screen, you know what I'm saying?" Jordan said. "The gasps, the one-liners, everything was working so it was cool to see it with a normal audience — not at a premiere, not at a press junket. They were really engaged and interacting with the film, so it was good to see."
Jordan, who plays villain and challenger for the Wakanda throne Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens, told ET the response to his role has come as a relief.
"It is a little relaxing to know people are really liking the performance," he said, adding that playing the bad guy "was something I'd never really done before so I was anxious to see how it would play and if it worked... it felt good."
The 31-year-old actor previously portrayed Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, in Fox's 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, which was burned by audiences and critics alike.
"I'm a geek, I love this world," he said. "I love being able to play in that fantastic kind of space, I looked at it kind of like it's another shot and to get it right, to do it again."
The actor admitted the complex role took him to a dark place, saying his time as the notorious professional killer stuck with him afterwards.
Jordan said he drew inspiration from Heath Ledger's performance as the maniacal Joker in The Dark Knight, saying Ledger's role set the bar for comic book movie villains and he wanted to find that same "controlled rage."
"The villains that are the most fun to watch for me are the ones that you can empathize with, you kind of know where they're coming from, you can see their point of view," Jordan said. "I tried to bring that groundedness to Killmonger."
Black Panther is now playing.